I have met many people who were given life sentences. The courts sentenced them to spend the rest of their lives in prison. On the bright side some of them were sentenced during a time there were a traditional parole board and a scheduled parole board hearing. During this hearing or sentence review those sentenced to life in prison had an opportunity to be released on parole.
If you are sentenced to a life in prison you will have to do twenty, thirty, or forty years in prison before parole is granted. During those decades you run the risk of becoming institutionalized, comfortable, complacent, and downright insane.
I actually encountered people who were sentenced to life in prison, were then granted parole, violated the conditions of that parole, and found themselves back in prison. YES! I said they came back to prison after being set free from a life sentence.
What I concluded from watching them flourish in prison and listening to their prison stories was that they were institutionalized, comfortable, complacent and crazy as hell. They got too adapted to the goings on in prison. Prison allowed them to have purpose, meaning, a cause, and excuse, value etc. The free world seemed to have offered them the opposite, or so they thought.
The fact is that we will all find ourselves in a heck of a situation. We will turn on some sort of defense mechanism that will allow us to get through that situation. While in prison I turned on an apathy switch. That is, I began caring about many things less and less until I was completely indifferent. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to turn that apathy switch completely off or at least to a point I care about all the things normal people do.
The key to not violating parole after being handed a life sentence is not getting too adapted to prison. For those who haven’t been to prison the key to not allowing a bad situation to change you for the worse is to be able to turn off the defense mechanism you used to get through the circumstance.
Imagine Riddick from the chronicles of Riddick movie. In order to get through his prison sentence in a prison void of light his eyes adapted to the darkness, or he had his eyes replaced with ones more suited for the environment. However, he became unable to see in the light without some sort of goggles.
Don’t let your defense mechanism keep you from flourishing in normal environments.