Nothing is free in prison except for suffering.
- Reflections of Brian Brim
Prison Certificate Awarded to Brian Brim
Living with a life sentence means I can’t even shower freely. I can’t have an at-will conversation with my kids, and our calls are limited to 15 minutes. Nothing is free in prison except for suffering. A 15-minute call to my family costs $10.
Back in 2008, I was in an Arizona federal prison. There was a race riot and I was called on by the Warden and lieutenant to diffuse the situation. I was called upon because I had a neutral rapport with both races and eventually the staff was able to open the yards back up and normal formation of the prison concluded. I believe that incident defines me more than being a former drug dealer. I am proud of who I am today.
I have completed many programs within the prison such as health classes, diabetes classes, financial classes, spiritual classes and self-esteem building courses. I continue with programming throughout my life sentence, even though there are no external incentives such as a release date. My reason is to help maintain my sanity behind these walls.
At moments, my mind plays tricks on me and I question: Why I am programming when I will never come home? I have a life sentence. But then hope returns to me when a new inmate comes to prison with a 10 or 20 year sentence. I know I have to maintain my sanity to positively impact the prisoners who will get out one day. Their success is my contribution to society.