This chapter introduces the voices of people who have endured decades of incarceration in New York State prisons. I begin with Julio Medina’s recollection of his friend Marisol, for various reasons.1 First, it illuminates the effects of the current punishment system on individual lives. As human beings, we adapt to our environment. Like the baby girl born at Bedford Hills, anyone who spends a significant amount of time in prison learns the ways of that particular institution. Second, it demonstrates how the very tools and pathology of the penal institution can be experienced as a source of comfort and how, oftentimes, people may not even be aware that the process of institutionalization is happening

until after they are released from prison. Third, it serves as an example of the ways human beings affirm their humanity despite forces that dehumanize.