Ossining HS students get chance to see what prison life is like at Sing Sing

Some of the men have been incarcerated longer than the students have been alive.

Emily Young

Mar 28, 2024, 10:47 PM

Updated 117 days ago


Students from Ossining High School got a glimpse of what life is like inside a maximum-security prison during the Sing Sing prison facility's Youth Assistance Program.
“I myself have been charged and convicted of murder in the first degree, I was sentenced to 25 years to life," said Tiny, a prisoner at the maximum security prison.
He was one of 11 incarcerated men at the facility to sit down with 17 students from Ossining High School for an open conversation about what life is like inside the prison.
No questions were off limits.
Some of the men have been incarcerated longer than the students have been alive.
"Everybody understand these numbers [years they will spend here] they're saying? Do you understand the weight that comes with that number? It's impossible for you to understand that," said Omar, who has been incarcerated for 19 years.
"This place is crowded, congested, it's a mess its like a zoo. Sometimes, I think the officers are paying the money for the water because it is so tough to get a shower," said another prisoner named Jesus.
There were no scare tactics involved, just an honest conversation about the consequences of their actions, and the changes they've made on the inside.
"Thirty years ago I was you, I was a kid in school doing what I was supposed to do, but I was straddling the line. And one decision can lead you to have a life sentence in prison," said another man serving a 67 year sentence at Sing Sing.
“You realize you're the reason why there's a family out there sad. A family that will never be whole again because of you...And then you realize you also put your own family in that situation, because you're not there," said another prisoner named Michael.
"I realized the only legacy im going to leave is one of destruction," said Tiny.
But they can try to prevent history from repeating itself and give these kids a wakeup call.
"I need to be remembered for being more than who I am. And this is one of the ways im able to do that, is to be in service of others," added Tiny.

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