#165 Proverbs in Prison

April 29, 2010 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

A Proverb in Prison

“The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord”

Proverbs 21:31

I hope you don’t mind me starting out with that, it lays the basis of my blog today.

Anyway, before I get into the blog, my thanks for several new readers, and some that have been reading my blogs for awhile, and decided to email me about prison matters. It is always good to hear from readers because it reminds me that what I am doing is indeed helpful, and the encouragement and support gives me strength to continue to write these blogs. For that I am most grateful.

Later today, I will be going out of town to get some supplies at Office Depot, thanks to a friend who sent me a $50 gift card to get some much needed items. I might even leave before I finish this blog, since we have to go out of town (no Office Depot in my town), so I hope to finish this either before, or after I get back.

And further thanks to a few new people who asked how they can support my blogs, it really is a good feeling to know that people believe in what I am trying to do.

Now, today’s blog is based on a recent event, and one that happened while I was in prison, both kinda similar if one thinks about it. I blogged a few days ago about a kind reader who was concerned about her son, who was put “in the hole” for getting into an altercation with an officer. He son was upset when his loved ones, who came from a VERY long way to visit, were denied a visit because they were late. Folks, when I say a LONG way, I don’t mean several hundred miles…it was MUCH further than that. But a sequence of unfortunate events, which was not their fault, caused them to be late, and thus lost their chance to visit him. The kind reader’s son got upset because they were there, but not allowed to visit, not even for a few minutes. He lost his temper and got into it with an officer, and was put in segregation with the threat of possibly having charges filed against him.

I emailed the person and she had actually written a very good letter on his behalf, and asked me if there was anything more I could add. I added some details about the importance of visitation for rehabilitation, but personally I think she did a very good job herself. The idea was to send it as soon as possible, in hopes to make a case for her son. Note folks, this wasn’t about defending him, because she knew that he was wrong for what he did, but her argument was that sometimes outside circumstances beyond your control can make people do what they normally would not do. She was not defending his actions, but she was supporting his reason.

Personally, I wish more people would do this, instead of fearing that if they do anything, the prison will retaliate. Sometimes you just gotta stand up for your loved one, and be his last line of defense. It takes action and faith to do that, and many times people are just too afraid to do anything when their loved one gets in trouble. Sadly, when things like this happen, we often look at the most negative and feel sorry that he got himself in trouble, without even considering that maybe there can be some grace and mercy applied.

So I emailed her back, and the idea was to get that letter to the prison ASAP, to give her son a fighting chance when he goes before the prison for his charge. Worst case scenario, he gets an extra charge for assault on an officer, and his incarceration period increases…nobody wants that.

Her situation reminds me of a charge I got while at Sanford Correctional, in Sanford, North Carolina. If you have been reading my blogs of late, you know that I said I have been “kicked out” of several prisons for writing grievances or letters to prison officials and even elected officials about prison issues. This was one of those situations where the retaliation by Sanford was intended to severely discredit me and demote me to a higher security level.

While at Sanford, I had written many letters about the prison, and encouraged other guys to write a grievance if they had a problem with how Sanford was running things. On one day, I was called to the warden’s office and was chewed out by the warden, his two lieutenants and I think a case manager. I knew that if I even tried to argue, there was no way I could win. Even if I said “2 +2=4” I would lose that argument, because somehow, someway, they would disagree just to make themselves appear right.

So I sat there and took it, saying to myself that the second I get back to my dorm, I will write this up in my journal. So I left, not raising my voice, or arguing at all, but absolutely determined to write this situation up, and send it to as many officials that I could. I wrote my journal, then went to dinner, where I also worked. While I was there, finishing my dinner, an officer came with chains and asked me to come with him.

I kinda knew it would happen, but everyone else that knew me was shocked. Of all the guys to have chains put on them…ME? Now don’t get me mixed up here folks, I am not trying to imply that I am anyone important, but the way I carried myself while at Sanford was as honorable as I could. I didn’t cause trouble, I helped other inmates when I could, no officer could say anything bad about me. But because I did write about prison issues, and the warden apparently didn’t like what I was doing, he decided to do something about it, and it started with them having to put me in chains.

In chains, I had to walk back through the prison yard, while the yard was open, and lots of guys saw me walk back to my dorm in the chains…everybody was likely asking, “what did HE do?” I got back to my dorm and had to empty out my locker, since it was apparent that they were going to ship me out immediately.

In all this, by DOC rule, somebody was supposed to read me my rights, and part of that was to also inform me of my charge…nobody did. As one of the officers read me my rights, he asked if I understood what they read. I said to him, “I have no idea what I am being charged for”. The officer said to me, “I don’t either, but I think you know.”

Still chained, I was put in a state car and driven out of Sanford to Guilford Correctional. It was interesting because the officer decided to stop by KFC to get himself something to eat, while I sat in the back seat, dreaming of fast food. He tried to make conversation with me as he drove, but I only answered one question…to me, we had nothing in common, and nothing I said would change his mind or the prison about me.

By evening I was in the hole, at Guilford county, with not one idea of why I was there. For days nobody told me anything, but it was sure that I had a date with the prison to determine my fate. I was told by another case manager about my charge…and it was a heavy one.

I had been charged by Sanford Correctional of attempting to start a riot, as well as several other smaller charges. The riot charge is an “A” charge, which is one of the worst you can get. If found guilty, I would very likely be demoted to a higher security prison, lose any gain time I had earned and likely other lost privileges. It was almost as bad as it could get for me. But I took comfort in that at least I knew what I was fighting against, since Sanford never bothered to tell me.

With that in mind, one of the first things I did was read scriptures, looking for answers. Again folks, I am not writing this with a halo over my head, but I understand a little about faith. The idea was to build some faith, and then plan my defense. I went over all kinds of ways I could defend my position, starting with the fact that Sanford didn’t go by the rules to even inform me of my charge. I knew that with my word against the warden, his lieutenants and even my own case manager, I had an uphill battle. But I knew I was right, I did nothing wrong.

For several days I was in that cell, thinking, planning, praying, staying in faith. I really believed that not only could I win this fight, but I would also be able to go BACK to Sanford to let my friends know what really happened. And I will be honest folks, I wasn’t scared. Something inside of me just kinda relaxed me to believe that I will get through this. Maybe it was because I had built up so much faith that it could not be shaken, or that I just KNEW that I was not guilty.

On the day I had my “trial” I went with other guys too, guys that had their “day in court”. I remember the Sergeant that was with us before we went in and how he told us that almost all the time the inmates lose, so the best thing to do is admit guilt and they will go easier. To me this was foolishness, because I was not guilty. I was not going to admit guilt for something I was not guilty of. So I was determined to fight for myself.

When it was my turn, I went in full of hope, and I had rehearsed the things I would say to the board many times in my head. I had a plan and I was going to say a lot of things in my defense…but ironically I didn’t have so say nearly as much…in fact, almost none.

The board asked me about the situation, and what little I told them included that I started no riot, and when asked about the rule, my point to them was that if sharing any legal information is against the rule, then an inmate even sharing the address for Prisoner Legal Services would technically constitute as being against prison rules…which would be foolish to consider.

It actually amazed me how little I had to say, but in the end I was found not guilty of all charges. I grinned to myself all the way back to my cell, and told the other guys in the other seg cells about it. I was so happy that I did a lot of praising, and it was then I realized that my plans had virtually nothing to do with my victory. It was all in God’s hands.

Interesting.

I spent a lot of time during that week preparing for arguments, counter arguments and debates based on DOC policy and even statutes. But when it came down to it, none of that was even necessary…it was my faith that took over, and God honored it.

You really have to understand this situation folks, most times an inmate’s word is not equal to an officer…let alone the warden of a prison, and his two lieutenants, and a case manager. I was outranked severely, and the charges against me were very heavy. In most cases, I would have to figuratively fight for my life, but in actuality, I barely lifted a finger…I didn’t need to.

I was prepared for battle…but my safety was from God.

The very same thing applied to the kind reader and her loved one, as she emailed me today. The letter we worked on and she tried to send actually didn’t get to the prison in time before her son’s judgment. But as it turned out, he got a very favorable decision, and the prison even acknowledged that under those circumstances, his actions were indeed understandable. No charges will be pressed against him, so certainly the kind reader got what she was praying for.

But it happened without her help…although spiritually it was with her help because of her faith. She had the faith, and she applied action to it. She didn’t sit there and whine and cry and stuff like that. She applied faith, and she acted as best she could. It would appear to me that this was what God was looking for…someone to act on that faith. If so, then He would do His part.

And it makes sense this way too, because in both cases, mine and hers, God gets the glory. If I had argued and debated my case, and won, I might have bragged on how “smart” I was, and how I beat the prison…but this way, I can’t say that. I certainly had a plan, but none of it was used, it was by grace from God that I won so completely…so He gets all the glory.

The same for the lady and her son… I read her letter, it was very good and I believed if she got it to the prison, it would have strongly helped her son…but in the end, it wasn’t necessary, because God saw her faith…and took her side, as well as her son’s.

What this seems to imply, as the proverb goes, is that you can be prepared to fight (literally or figuratively), but the true safety comes from God. There is a carnal warfare, and a spiritual one. Most times we forget the spiritual one, and feel often times that we have to fight the carnal one without God’s help. But if we have faith, it is there. Our problem is that we can’t see it, so we often believe that if we can’t see it, then either it isn’t there…or it MIGHT not be there…both are cases for doubt.

Now look, I say again to you, I am not writing this with some glowing light around me, I am no different from you, probably less than you, but I do understand a little about faith. I have seen it work for me and others, and it works whether you are free or in prison. I urge you folks to hang in there, apply some faith and don’t give up. Faith works with action, and without it faith is empty. I am convinced that anything a person asks of God, He can do, if we believe. I think often times we slip because we focus too much on what WE can do, rather what He can do. If you ask God for help, the let Him help.

Oh well, I hope that helps a few people today, I got some emails from new readers I want to get back to, and I also have a few people who asked me how they can support my blogs. I guess you can say that is a blessing to me, and to be sure it is. I’d love to get to the point where I can make a steady income doing this, I have so much more I want to share with you in prison issues; we’ve barely scratched the surface, even after all these years of my writing.

So hang in there ok, if you want to email me, you know my email. If you want to ask about my products, no problem, I have prison cards and prison encouragement certificates already printed. I also have a couple of books too, but because I work off an older printer, it takes a little longer to print them out before I take it to Staples to bind up. You know how it is when you put two pieces of paper in the printer, expecting to print two pages, but the printer snatches both up…I think the heads of the rollers need cleaning or something.

Anyway, best wishes to you all. Until then…

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Entry filed under: girlfriends with boyfriends in prison, God and prison, inmates, jail, LostVault, mothers with sons in prison, prison, prison abuse, prison blogs, prison books, prison cards, prison food, prison jobs, prison mail, prison pen pals, prison support sites, Prison Talk Online, Prisonbid, rehabilitation, son in prison.

#164 Prison PRS (Pack Rat Syndrome) #166 My thanks for your support

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