What is it that separates the journey of a farm raised salmon and the journey of a salmon that was born in its natural habitat? One has the burden of being raised on a farm for the sole purpose of consumption (not to live, explore, and travel the routes its ancestors did before it). The latter is having the blessing of being born for its divine purpose (which is to explore and experience, traverse the routes of its ancestors and to journey into the great migration and inevitably procreate and carry on its genetic line).
What about the difference between the journey of a human being sentenced to prison for the rest of their life and a human being who never steps foot inside these walls? I thought about this question one day as I looked around and noticed young men who have been incarcerated since their teens and have never had the opportunity to go to college (or graduate from high school), who never had the opportunity to marry someone, raise a family, pay taxes, and be a responsible adult. Or even some of the elders around here who even if you wanted to you couldn’t go to for elderly wisdom because they themselves lack in that department (seeing as though they have dealing with worldly events). The aforementioned men are not examples of every man in prison…however, sadly, it is the majority.
I once thought that prison would allow a man to at least gain tools to prepare for the journey ahead and outside these walls, however after my fourteen plus years inside this prison I have come to the conclusion that we are seen in the same light as those farm raised salmon. We are not seen as humans, therefore there seems to be no rush to educate, rehabilitate, and restore. We´re looked at as commodities (paychecks to those who would normally be out of a job if not for this prison in Ft. Madison). We´re seen as means to an end for those who promote the idea that we are incorrigible and right where we belong. If you could see what I see you would know that it’s like to truly be devoid of hope, optimism, happiness, purpose… just like that farm raised salmon who just swims around in that swimming pool (instead of the expansive ocean) waiting to be fattened up so that he can be slaughtered.
The journey to freedom for a salmon and a human has a unique difference. The salmon doesn´t possess the reasoning, thinking, understanding, and most importantly the will to transcend its circumstance and rise above it all despite the insurmountable odds he faces. We have that ability and yet the majority of us are content with being farm raised, while we walk around this prison yard aimlessly and with no purpose just waiting to be slaughtered!

By: Mr. Omar R. Wilkins – Bey