#221 The day after prison… 2 years later (retro)

June 6, 2010 at 11:56 pm Leave a comment

The Day After Prison: 2 years later

I want to share with you something that I wrote 2 years ago for a program called “Open Source”, a radio program that debates critical issues.

Before I do, I again want to remind you about emailing me about any issues you may have, and to ask me about my books. I am also quite open to support from you if you find my blogs to be of some help. I am most grateful to a person who sent me a gift today, which will certainly help me buy some ink and paper to produce my books…

As well as a delicious meal at Burger King…which is important too.

I don’t take it lightly that I am very grateful for any gifts a person sends, because it reinforces in me to want to do more, and to do it better. If a person believes that much in me, I have to do my best to not let them down.

So I try to work more on writing, and giving you perspectives from one who has been in prison. I am also about half way done with my first blog book, and it features blogs I wrote back in 2005 and early 2006. I hope you ask me about that.

Now, about two years ago, I was writing for a bunch of different sites and had recently been blogging on my original prison blog, called “Grades of Honor”, after my books. I was sent an email by someone asking if I could participate in a radio program called “Open Source”, to which I was pretty intrigued. I told them I would be interested, and actually blogged a bit about that, but as it turned out, they ended up not needing me. Kinda depressing, but I can’t complain.

The article of discussion was on the idea of what to do for inmates after they get out of prison. The actual title was “The Day After Prison”, and the program had several different guests to talk about how society can help inmates who are recently released from prison.

One comment they said was around the old idea that when you finish doing your time, they give you a bus ride and drop you off with $20. Well, the reality is pretty close to that. When I got out, I was given a check for $45. I was fortunate enough to be able to have a home to go to, but for many other guys who don’t, you are literally begging them to fail again.

So the discussion was on this issue, and the debate featured a director from a college of criminal justice, a commissioner of NY DOC, a detective in a police department and a former inmate who spent less than a year in minimum custody.

I guess that was who replaced me.

Anyway, there was a discussion on this, and I added my comment, which is the following:

April 28th, 2006 at 2:38 pm

I think the problem with society is that we are too quick to place people in groups without knowing all the details. I mean, if you say you don’t want killers or rapists or whatever, how much do you REALLY know about their situation, or do you simply assume that every person in prison was correctly judged and condemned?

Let’s be fair about a few things, yes there are some people in prison who need to be there, but there are also some that are there on circumstances. For example, if a female falsely accused a person of rape, and got that guy sent to prison, by some people’s own words, they are forever condemned, even if you don’t really know what happened. This can go for any situation, and creates a very unfair judgement of people by those who are not willing to consider that MAYBE some of the circumstances wasn’t as clear cut as a CSI episode.

This isn’t fair to the inmate who did his time and is trying to change, because by some comments here, society could really care less. I kinda agree with the other ex felon, because I am one myself, that some of the people doing the most talking are the ones that are only doing that to assure themselves that at least they talked about it. But put the real issues to them and they won’t touch it.

But I have always believed that every person deserves a chance, regardless of what others think. If a guy coming out of prison really wants to change, and does his best, society (especially a Christian society) ought not judge them and see if they can help. I write alot about that in my prison blogs, and to me, the biggest point in almost everything I try to share is that there HAS to be hope…

who are you to take that away from them?

My comment was made after on person commented on how he felt society can help ex offenders. But I wasn’t in full agreement to what he said. In his comment, he said that he felt that killers, rapists and child molesters should never come out of prison, but right after that he talks about how society should try to help ex offenders get their lives back together.

He kept talking about “making it possible” to do this or that, but in my opinion, he is already part of the problem because he has already segregated 3 groups of inmates. You can’t pick and choose who you want to help, if the top priority is TO help.

My comments made on that debate addressed the essence that until you know all the circumstances of every single person, you cannot group them without prejudice. For example, let’s just take rapist.

Now understand here, I am NOT endorsing in ANY level this sort of behavior, so don’t go twisting my words. My blogs have always been about prison issues, but my heart is never far from victims of crime. I hope you understand that before I go on.

Having said that, I think anyone who is convicted of rape SHOULD do time…but AFTER HE HAS DONE THE TIME…

Let him try to get his life back.

And lots of people don’t like that, they want these people to stay in prison forever…but if a court of law convicts a man and gives him his time, then JUSTICE WAS SERVED.

Again, don’t twist this to make it sound like the victim wasn’t important, I understand how very traumatic this can be to a victim and their family, and as I said before, my heart goes out to each and every one of them.

But if the LAW says he has to do 10 years, and he does it, why then are you going to impose more damnation? When does the justice system end, if you continue to condemn after a court of law?

By doing this, you are refusing to allow a person to change his life. What if that person was very, very sorry for what happened, and swore to himself and to God that he would do what he could to make up for what he did?

Doesn’t matter, since society has already decided that he is worthless.

So when does mercy come in? When is a man who has served his debt allowed to pick up his life, if he has done his time?

See, lots of people don’t understand that part because they are too busy bashing the fallen with a cross, acting like the faults of a man is an eternal sin. Rape is wrong, no two ways about it, but any crime is wrong, and should be treaded the same way, by letting the judicial system run it’s course.

There’s another side too, every case is different, and some cases are not as demonstrative as the crime says. Some of these cases are very iffy, and the results can depend on who has more money, the race of the person and whether they have a court appointed lawyer or not.

In short, not everybody in prison is 100% guilty…sometimes the courts are wrong. Justice may be blind…but not the people who hold it in their hands.

I say all this because what it proves is that anyone who isolates a group of criminals is purely ignorant. You cannot say that every case is clear cut, because you don’t know the details of every case in the country…all you know is that they were found guilty. I will not argue that there are some guys that NEED to be in prison, and I also know there are some that, when released, will go right back to prison. But nobody living on this planet can tell me that every single person in prison deserves to be there. To do that, you’d have to know every single case and the details…

You’d have to be God.

And you’re NOT.

So my comment was based on the idea that this guy made a comment out of ignorance, choosing to believe in an absolute, when that is not possible. There are some guys that fit in those categories that DESERVE to be in prison, no doubt about it, but since I don’t know the exact details of every case, I cannot point the finger and say, “ALL” rapists, or ALL of anything should do this or that.

I just don’t have that power to condemn that much humanity…knowing I myself am not perfect. My house is made of cheap glass, and there are lots of rocks along the road near my home…

(get it?)

And the comment I made, with the ones before it, almost expose a greater issue than helping inmates, it’s the identification of the ex offenders. Until a person looks at an ex offender and says, “you have a second chance, what will you do with it” with sincerity and honesty, then for the most part, guys coming out of that hell will just enter into a secondary hell.

You can’t help these people until you first free your heart of their past. If you can’t do that, you’ll never be in a position to help an ex felon, because you’ll still be condemning them.

If a person told you they did time, it ought not matter what they were there for, should it? If so, then you are more likely to give place to a guy that did 30 days for trespassing than a guy who did 20 years for child molestation.

You’re pre-judging because you ASSUME the person with the lesser sin is better than the person with the greater sin. So the person with the greater charge loses a chance to better himself.

What if the person that did 20 years is absolutely devoted to changing his life and doing whatever he can to make amends? What if the person who did 30 days just doesn’t give a damn about anything?

In the most general of scopes, if both of these guys did their time and return to society, they OUGHT to be looked at as citizens, and welcomed back to society IF they are willing to respect the law and be a positive influence in society. But that’s not how it works, and we all know that.

We have put the crimes in grades of evil, and award the lesser evil the most privileges, while continuing to punish those with the greater evils. What this means is that we have NOT forgiven.

And if not, then you can’t possibly help them…because you still don’t give a damn.

I have lived this since I got out in 2001, and may continue to live it until I die…

(Lord I hope not…)

I sometimes wish I could hit the lotto for $500,000,000 so I can uproot and move out of this country and live on an island and enjoy life…

But if I did that, I would not be blogging now. And it has been pure hell trying to talk about prison issues on sites where many readers like to pick your brain for stuff, but won’t give you the time of day. I learned this the hard way from Prison Talk, and many other sites.

But I have also seen people that I have really touched because I took the time to help them. There are emails I get from people that let me know that my problems in prison and after gives me a unique place to share and help others. I know I am doing some good, even if a speck at a time.

And when someone sends me a gift to help me support my writings, I see that there are indeed people out there that care, and understand that nobody is perfect. I understand that there IS hope for guys who do time and get out, needing a second chance. There ARE people who don’t try to be selective of one sin or another; you look at the character of the person.

I didn’t see that when I got out of prison in 2001. But now in 2008, and after thousands of pages of writing, and thousands of emails over the last several years, and all the posts, blogs and other writings I have done, there are people that want to help.

So there is hope for the inmate who comes out of prison…if they are willing to earn it. The day after prison is more than a transition from one place to another, it is a transition of LIFE, and if the inmate can make that change, I think he will be fine…

But it also takes society to discard their prejudices about ex felons and give these people a second chance…heck, God would.

But ironically, humans don’t…go figure.

Anyway, gotta run, email me about my books or how you can support my writings at derf4000 (at) embarqmail (dot) com


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.

#220 When inmates must defend the honor (retro) #222 Y I Left FOI (retro)

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