Follow @lockdownlive on twitter.



  • Government Name: Samuel Karim
  • Register Number: R10346
  • Age:43
  • Time Served:20 years
  • Home Town:Chicago, IL
  • Sentence:LIFE
  • Current Charge:Murder, Attempted Murder, Sexual Assault
  • Alias:Alias
  • Release Date:N/A
  • Prison Affiliation:Prison Affiliation
  • Circle of Influence:Kenneth Key
  • Institution:Stateville Correctional Center
  • It feels good to be an engine of change in hopes of leaving the world a better place than the one I was born into.

Hood PTSD is Real

I know a secret that most men and women in prison and in urban America suffer from. Our secret is is Hood Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Hood PTSD). Hood PTSD is an understanding and recognition that men, women and children raised in war-torn ghettos across the United States of America face the same harms, anxieties and mental disorders as our soldiers who serve in the military and go to war.

I believe my mental disorder (Hood PTSD) was caused by numerous factors such as abusive parents, violence in the home, violence in the neighborhood, gang culture, shootings, rapes, and all the other stuff we see in the school-to-prison pipeline that we are raised in. My exposure to prolonged violence and stress in my environment has had a very long-term effect on me, altering me psychologically and physiologically.

When I look at how I developed Hood PTSD, I can’t help but think back to the recurring nightmares I experience to this day. In the mid-’80s I was exiting a movie theater in Hawthorne, California, at the Hawthorne Mall, and there was a man on the ground with multiple holes in his face. I can still hear the hollering I heard when I looked around. I see this man on top of a car with the biggest knife I had ever seen attempting to fight off security guards. I remember getting into the car and asking my dad, “Why didn’t you help or call someone to help?” He said, “That isn’t our business.” What’s crazy about this is I heard it from my father.

What I saw as a young man changed my reality forever.

At or around this time I started to think differently, but I was never asked what I thought or saw. That left me to deal with life as I saw fit. Then around 1988, as fate would have it, I was shipped off for real Violence Training 101 with my big brother and his father. I looked at my brother’s father as my father because he never beat me. I looked up to him because he showed me how to have things. In looking up to both of them I was being molded to handle urban violence in America. What I saw as a young man changed my reality forever. To this day, I still smell the gun-smoke. I still smell the second-hand and first-hand weed smoke I breathed as an adolescent. I also feel the anxieties of that lifestyle.

Urban violence was detrimental to my development, but some of the other things I saw as a young kid still hurt my thoughts to this day. We had a house fire when my family lived in Texas. I was in a gas explosion when my family lived in Los Angeles. I had my head busted with a baseball bat. I saw many shootings growing up. I witnessed the enforcement of drug spots around the communities. The effects of this stuff really hurt how I viewed the world. For one, growing up, I hated how my father treated my mother. On the other hand, my brother who I looked up to slapped his woman from time-to-time. Ultimately, I became what I hated and what I loved.

I don’t believe that before prison I had any truly healthy relationships with women. I started out with a cuss word, then I moved to a slap, then I did whatever I wanted to without thinking. Then I began dealing with alcohol and smoking weed. I just moved how I wanted to without regard to the people around me. I think back to my father becoming a full-blown alcoholic who was in the dark, but his out-of-control behavior showed its face by way of yelling and most of all being very abusive to our whole family. I took the brunt of it. My father had already run my older brother and sister out of the house at different times. I really don’t know what it was, but I guess his dad raised him the same way. I do know he made me hard toward everyone in the world and to really not care what anyone thought about it.

I do know that when living with Hood PTSD you start to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. I started to love the alcohol because I could blank-out in a way that I wouldn’t remember anything. Even more importantly, I could stop the nightmares. Even as I look back to school, I think about all the drawbacks that made me look down on myself such as not knowing how to read or even think for myself. When my brother’s father took an interest in my life I found a voice, but it was the voice of the devil. This voice was the voice of hate, distrust and anger. This was the voice of the little boy who said nobody will make fun of me and no one will ever abuse me again. This was the voice of pain times ten. But I found that voice of hate, pain and hurt from others I needed to operate. Then as I think back, if I could have continued to work with the mental health doctor, I just maybe could have got some help. Instead, I got help from the gang. The gang gave me that false sense of love and truth. It was a fake brotherhood It was like a meeting of the pain bodies. Even the leader of the gang was a pain body himself. I still believe had I got help it would have saved my life. I believe that at some point I started to believe that prison was in my future, but with the weed and alcohol in my system I did not care. I really wanted to be dead.

Ultimately, I became what I hated and what I loved.

I now know that Hood PTSD played a big role in my decision-making which led me to prison. When you don’t trust and something inside of you won’t allow you to trust, you live with the mentality of me against the world. I believe it doesn’t help much that most of the people in that lifestyle are really out to get their’s by any means. What’s even more crazy about Hood PTSD is that had the lawyers taken the time to look into my past or had the judge been told about my Hood PTSD I would not be here in prison. I would be getting the real help I need. As I think forward, I just pray people in prison and urban America are able to read this and get some real help.

Hood PTSD is real. Just think– If a U.S. soldier goes to war and returns after a couple of years of active duty complaining about post traumatic stress disorder, his complaints are taken seriously.  If that same soldier has issues with violence and breaks the law, uses drugs and alcohol, the community, the judicial system and the media come together and recognize PTSD. In fact, in some cases neuroscientists can diagnose PTSD from an MRI or CT scan of the brain. But when a kid from the ghetto has been to war in the hood and the community and acts out, the police, the judges and lawyers come together to give the kid a life sentence. The kid was doing what he or she thought was right. The kid growing up in a city like Chicago has seen more murders in the past ten years than deaths of American soldiers from recent wars in the Middle East combined, and like the soldier, the kid needs help. We should be offered the same resources of the medical and legal community of others who deal with PTSD.

Let me be clear: Urban America is not the only place that Hood PTSD has taken hold, but in urban America it has become a way of life that is hurting Americans everywhere Again, this is not a black, brown or white thing, it’s an American thing that must be dealt with in a real way. The secret is out. Can we get America to provide some real help because this Hood PTSD is killing us.

I just pray people in prison and urban America are able to read this and get some real help.


One response to “Hood PTSD is Real”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read this book!

Choose Language

Quick Shots