Saturday, February 6, 2010

#4 Understanding prison time

Understanding prison time

Today I want to talk just a little bit on the mentality that one has to have if you have a loved one in prison. No doubt for anyone sincerely reading this, there is a lot of pain and stress going on. There are mothers with sons in prison, wives with husbands in prison and girlfriends with boyfriends in prison that are worried sick about someone they care about.

Notice I didn’t say much about the males with loved ones in prison. This does not mean there are none, but in my several years of prison writing, I have noticed that about 99% of the people who look for answers and hope are in fact women. In fact, I can probably list on one hand the number of men that have been writing on prison blogs or posts with some level of consistency.

In my past writing, I have received numerous emails from women. Most of my posts were commented from by women, and my financial support, whether by books, cards or contributions have largely been by women. So having seen that, I try to angle my blogs to females, but not forgetting that there are a few dads, husbands and such that have a loved one in prison.

I won’t get too deep into this, because if I do, it will turn out to be 5-10 pages of writing, not going to do that just yet. And while I am at it, be mindful that in the future I will be making one of these three blog sites my “anchor”. Although at the moment I blog on blogspot, xanga and wordpress, I will use one as my anchor, where I will actually post more there than the other two. It will also allow me to try to monetize so I can try to earn a few dollars here and there….hey, I gotta buy a new computer!

So if you have a loved one in prison, what should you do? There are many things, and in the past I wrote about many of them, but lets address the idea of understanding prison time. This is very important because one of the greatest fears a person have about a loved one in prison is the unknown.

You are worried sick because you just don’t know what he is doing, or going through. Sure, you can go online and find the prison, but you won’t learn anything about it that will comfort you. Knowing the location, population and visitation hours won’t help you sleep any more at night than the night before. You need to peel back some of the unknown layers, so that you can believe, even for one day, that your loved one can indeed make it.

This is intel no prison will give you, nor offer.

This is leg work you have to initiate yourself.

A starting point is finding people who are first sympathetic to your problems, and second, people with the ability to talk to you about what you or your loved one may be going through. You notice that the FIRST condition has to be met; you have to find people that are sympathetic to your problem. There are lots of people out there that believe that every single person that breaks the law deserves no mercy….funny, there are lots of rich executives that damn near broke our country, and suckered us Americans to foot the bill for it, and nobody is calling THEM criminals….

But I digress….

You must find people that understand that we all make mistakes, and if a person is willing to at least TRY to change, then there should be help for them. You have to find people that understand what you are going through, and desire to share what they can to help you get through it. Not just sharing pity, but solutions. This is a huge difference from what many people “naturally” do. Go to any prison support site, and there is more defeated talk than encouraging talk. Sure, information is being shared, but 90% of it is second hand intel, told by someone who heard from someone. Ever talk to one that has BEEN there?

If you can find people that are willing to talk about their experiences, they might give you some hope that even though prison is very difficult, you can get through it. I am one example, but there are many others. Yet the problem here is that although millions of men have gone through the system, very, very, very few speak about it. This makes it harder for you to gain understanding through the ex felon’s eye, and having to rely more on second hand information. That’s better than nothing but if you can find a person to email and ask about prison questions, that will get you on the road to understanding.

Right now I have a few people that email me about prison issues. I used to have a ton, but now it is just a couple since I have not been blogging much lately. But when a person emails me, I try to see their side, and share my experiences in a way that can give them hope, so that they might be able to find just a little peace in the day. If I can do that, then we both are making progress. But it starts there folks, finding a venue to understand what prison time is about.

There is much more to say but I will cut it short for now, you can email me if you have questions or prison issues you want me to talk about. Until then…..

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