Let’s face it. I have often embraced my own superficial side. For instance, I have always had a keen awareness of clothes, both good and bad. As long as I can remember, I’ve known what was in and out of style. I remember as early as elementary school, my mother threatened me with “husky” jeans if I didn’t lose some weight. This would have been a fate worse than death, as no fashionable boy would wear them, so I lost some weight. I also remember my red, white and blue wing tips with the 2″ heels that I proudly wore with my red double knit bell bottoms with 2″ cuffs, my white belt and my red, white, and blue double knit shirt during my senior year of high school in 1971. This outfit would have no doubt exploded had I gotten close to an open flame.

I’m afraid that I didn’t leave my keen fashion eye at home when I arrived at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp. Granted the choices are very limited here, but, with practice, one can still be judgmental in almost any environment. For example, do you remember when men’s t-shirts used to be bigger? In the 1990s and 2000s men wore their t-shirts bigger and this changed sometime before 2010. I know I went down one t-shirt size when I picked up on this important fashion trend.

Well, I’ve noticed here that I can tell how long an inmate has been incarcerated by the size of his t-shirts. Those who have been away from the real world for 7 years or more have not gotten the memo that their t-shirts are too big. While I’m embarrassed for their fashion faux pas, the emotion that hits the hardest is sadness. Some of these are the best guys I know here, and they should be home with their families. They have been incarcerated too long. Since 1980, the US population has increased by 33%, but the prison population has increased by 800%. Certainly not because I’m here, but the federal criminal justice system is a disgrace. America should be better than this.

Hopefully a homecoming will happen for these guys soon, hopefully before bigger t-shirts come back in style again.