Eddie Lowery went very quickly from a hardworking soldier and father to a man who would need to find a way to survive in the Kansas prison system.
Lowery had numerous factors that could have potentially made prison life tough. At 22, he was one of the younger inmates at Lansing Correctional Facility. He was small — about 165 pounds — had never spent time in a correctional setting, and was entering prison as a convicted rapist.
“I had never been in any serious trouble before,” Lowery said. “It was a very scary and intimidating time in my life.”
While awaiting sentencing at the county jail, Lowery received a tip from a fellow inmate that he credits with helping him make it through the years at Lansing.
“He told me, ‘Hey Ed, when you get to prison don’t tell them you’re in there on a sex offense,’” Lowery said.
Lowery lied to protect himself from the harsh treatment sex offenders can receive in prison.
“I had to go in there with a plan, and tell them I was in here for robbery,” he said.
And his plan worked.
“It was pretty much a miracle in my life that I spent 10 years in there … (And) nobody knew I was in there on a rape charge,” Lowery said.
In prison, Lowery said, the lie, coupled with some of the friendships he made with other inmates, protected him from violence for the decade he was incarcerated.
“I went in there and respected people,” he said.
His story about being in prison for robbery also earned him a nickname from other inmates.
“They called me ‘Seven-Eleven,’” Lowery said.