Wednesday, March 31, 2010

#113 Prison Concerns From The Outside

Prison Concerns From The Outside

There is so much to discuss folks…..

But I will keep it shorter today, because if I don’t, I’ll end up blogging about 10 pages. And I hope to get to that point soon, depending on the responses from my blogs, but I want to work into that.

First off, thanks for those of you who have been reading my blogs, and have been emailing me or making comments. This last week I have seen an upswing in emails from people that have been following my blogs. This is always encouraging because the support I get from readers allows me to have the strength to in turn, write in support of them.

The last several days I have been watching some internal concerns of may of you who read my blogs, and from doing so I try to see what concerns you once we pass the initial idea that you have a loved one in prison.

This is a similarity that most of you have, you either have a son, husband, boyfriend or some other loved one in prison, and it has you searching on Google, or typing in “prison help” on the search bar, or looking for prison support sites.

For that reason, you are similar to thousands of people who are on the internet today, looking for help.

But after that, it gets kinda different.

Hold on…I wanna get a soda….


Ok, good to go…

(what….can’t I have a soda?)

Now, as I said, once we get past the idea that you have a loved one in prison, the deeper concerns are more specific. Every person is different, so in turn, every situation that is out there is different, almost unique. Notice I said ALMOST because I firmly believe that no person going through a situation is absolutely unique, even if it is new to you, it is most likely not new to the legal or prison system.

It’s those things I would like to try to address a little today, and maybe a little more in the future. I want to touch on a few today. My idea is to blog first, so I can get all my thoughts out, then go back and email those who emailed me today. Now if some of those folks were ones that have requested me to be a “coach” or have hired me to help them, (as I mentioned in past blogs) then my priority is first with them. I try to promise myself to make myself available to them, since they have supported me, but I do try to help as many as I can.

Let’s start with a comment I got a few days ago:

I got a nice comment from a lady that is having a tough time because her son just got sent to prison just very recently, not more than a week ago (as we are in March 2010). But he had been in jail waiting his trial and sentence since 2009. She’s doing the best she can, all things considering. I know what it’s like to sit in jail for a long time, I did it for almost 17 months…in a seg cell.

It can be really tough when as a mom, you have a son sitting in jail, and not knowing what to expect…or expecting the worse. And people get mixed up about jail and prison, there is a difference. Most times if you are in jail, you are awaiting court or sentencing, but it also means that in many cases you are still “innocent until found guilty”. In prison, you ARE guilty by court of law.

What this means is that when a son sits in a jail for so long a time, it can build a hope, whether true or false, that maybe, somehow, that son can still come out of this ok. It might put that thought in the mother’s head that maybe things will work out, after all, he isn’t guilty yet. But when the realization hits, and he is sent to prison, it can feel like the walls all crumbled down.

I felt the same way when I was sentenced, and when I was finally sent to prison. If you know my story (which I don’t talk about much), you know that there were a lot of things different about my situation, things that even the judge had to wonder about. In the end he gave me a sentence MUCH shorter than I could have gotten, maybe because there was doubt. Still, whether I got 5 years or 5 days, the fact that I was judged guilty destroyed my faith, even as everybody around me felt that I had received a miracle.

I hope that mom who made the comment is still reading my blogs, if so, my invitation to her is wide open. If you need to read more blogs, believe me, I have HUNDREDS that I can pull out. Remember folks, I have been writing off and on about prison issues for about 8 years…even though this particular blog has about 100+ entries, trust me, that is a very small fraction of what I have written. It would be no problem for me to drop 10 “retro” blogs if it can help you out…or no problem for me to write new ones.

A second person wrote me a nice email and mentioned to me about the stress of having a husband in prison, and she is in her 20’s. I can imagine how tough this can be when you are younger, and with a child, and the husband is in prison. I said I can imagine…but in truth I cannot. It must be very stressful, and my heart goes out to a person like that.

She emailed me and in her message she asked if I truly believe there is hope. This is very deep, because as I said before, many of you have similarities because you have a loved one in prison, but once we establish that, we have to get to the deeper issues. In this case, for someone with a loved one in prison…is there hope?

Hmmmm…..oh, the pause isn’t whether there IS hope or not, that answer is easy… YES! My pause is that I may have to write another blog today and focus on that very subject. Hope.

That might be a future project for me today, if not later. For that person, I feel like maybe I need to get more in depth about hope when it comes to prison matters, because if she felt it so important to ask, then I need to make it important to answer. So now I have a second project today, one I hope to get on as soon as I finish this blog. For that reason, I will pass on answering that at this second…so I can answer in another blog with more details.

But you see what I am trying to say, right folks? There are numerous concerns that people have, that are deeper than just “my loved one is in prison”. For every person like this, there are direct effects of having a loved one in prison. The young lady that emailed me is also concerned about where her husband can live after he gets out, if the parole officer does not approve of where he can be released. I hope to get in touch with her about that today, and offer my opinions.

Sometimes folks it isn’t about someone IN prison, it can be about GOING to prison. I have a very kind reader that is having some personal problems and she has been keeping in touch with me off and on about her situation. I will not divulge that to you, because that’s between what she shares with me, and herself. But the obvious concern is the condemnation that goes with being judged guilty.

We have chatted back and forth many times, and I try to do my best to keep her in faith, which is hard for me because I have my own crosses to bear as an ex felon. I cannot say how hard it is to stay positive and encouraging in the face of so much negativity from some of the most unlikely circles. Now the novice might say something stupid like, “well, if you hadn’t broken the law…” or something moronic.

To those that think that…why are you wasting your time…and mine, by reading these blogs? This blog isn’t for YOU anyway.

Anyway, that person is carrying a very heavy burden, one I have had to carry myself. I understand what she is going through, and I try my best to keep her encouraged. But one thing I try not to do is lie to myself. If I am disappointed, I will let you know, but before it gets to that point, I will do my very best to FIGHT that disappointment. If I can beat it, then it makes for a great blog. If not, then I have to be honest and tell you how I feel.

There are so, so many concerns that come with prison issues, we just don’t have time to address them all now…but it is my hope…(gotta write that hope blog today) that we can talk about them as time goes on. As usual, feel free to make a nice comment, or email me to ask about prison issues we can talk about. I don’t suggest that I know it all, but I can at least try to talk about it. Until then…

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