Real Prison Real Freedom
If you want to know what contributes to a person becoming a violent criminal, Real Prison Real Freedom, the story of Rickie Smith, by Rosser McDonald is a good place to start.
Born in 1954, Rickie was adopted as an infant by Selestia and Red Smith. As parents, his father was physically and emotionally abusive, while his mother was overindulgent and enabling. The one thing both parents had in common was that all disputes were resolved by violence, most often fueled by alcohol. In addition to a dysfunctional family, Rickie was dyslexic and stopped going to school in grade eight, though he likely didn’t achieve even that level of education.
His life of crime began with burglaries but soon escalated to drug trafficking. His relationships were short and misogynistic. The only trait resembling self-esteem was Rickie’s so-called personal code of honor, “These people are, for sure, gonna respect me.” These people referred to everyone, beginning with his criminal associates, fellow inmates, and particularly the guards and prison administration. Understandably, Rickie equated fear with respect.
By 1990, Rickie was serving three ninety-nine year sentences and fighting a war on three fronts, including one with the Aryan Brotherhood against competing gangs, especially the Mandingo Warriors, the dominant Black inmate gang. Another he was engaged in was within the Aryan Brotherhood over leadership and personal conflicts. The third was against the guards and the system. He had rightly earned the title of the most dangerous man in the Texas Department of Corrections.
Miserable, filled with hatred and anger, and without hope, he picked up a discarded Bible and read “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Rest was what Rickie longed for and so he asked Jesus for it, and it was granted. From that day forward, Rickie Smith became a Christian, living and preaching the gospel.
Included in this compelling story about the resilience of the human spirit is a detailed account of the changes the Texas Department of Corrections underwent during this period. Whether you attribute the transformation of Rickie Smith to accepting Jesus or realizing his life was unbearable and had to change is a matter of personal choice, but there is no denying the gospel was the roadmap to finding his way back to humanity. His implementation of Christian principles has affected a seismic shift in his life and, in doing so, influenced the faith of many others.
|Page Count||212 pages|
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|Category||Mystery, Crime & Thriller|