People ask me how this got started. It’s coming up on a year, and I ask myself that too. I also ask myself if I can keep it going.
The honest answer to the second question is, I guess I am going to try. Near the beginning, I was talking to a woman who ran a program in New Jersey. She told me she didn’t know if I would have the heart for it. Not meaning that I didn’t have the drive or the passion, but meaning that my heart was going to take a beating. She was dead on. Correct. This isn’t for the tender hearted, and I always saw myself that way. The stories are heartbreaking. You want to help the people who reach out to you through those bars, but you can’t. There’s no way to open the door. You talk to people facing death in prison, and we aren’t talking ‘nice’ prisons.
Some of the places are fair. Some have air conditioning. Some don’t. Some are in places where you wouldn’t want your dog left out in the heat, and there is no air conditioning. Some serve food the yard cats won’t eat. Some places aren’t even guarded – the inmates guard themselves. I’ve seen the video. I’ve heard the stories. This isn’t a joke. It’s a reality. Men and women are actually all locked together in some places with drugs and no supervision. Some of them are cold blooded killers, some of them never hurt anybody. Juveniles sent to live in maximum security and learn how to survive. Corrections Officers with condescending, overbearing, power hunger attitudes. It’s true. I’ve seen articles written by a self righteous few, and comments on some of my articles. I have to ask myself if those people are really that oblivious to all that is going on around them. Yes. There are some good Corrections Officers with their hearts in the right place. But, don’t try to throw up this smoke screen that that is the overwhelming reality. Blanket statements on either side make progress impossible.
I guess how it got started isn’t as important as can I keep going. I have to. It’s like opening a door and seeing a pile of broken souls and shutting the door quietly and walking away, trying to pretend I never saw it. I can’t. So – if I am a voice that never gets heard, so be it. But, I can’t live with myself if I pretend. I thank God, I have faith, because that is the ONLY thing that keeps my heart from breaking after seeing and hearing the things I do. Faith alone.
So, I’m going to pull out Rayvell Finch’s story again. The man who got life when he was arrested for sitting on a stoop. The poor guy had a drug problem. A problem. An addiction. His life was a mess already. They gave him life. Twenty years later, he’s still in there. He wrote me last week and kindly asked me to write to the parole board. Get a letter like that and quit? Nope. For the love of God, somebody listen!!! Somebody change this God awful system! I’m just a mom, that’s it. I’m not a politician or a lawyer.
My divorce has been in the courts now for about a year and a half. Who knew you could learn how much is wrong with our judicial system from a divorce. If we can’t get divorce court right, we don’t have a chance in hell, but I won’t be quiet about it.
Still haven’t answered the question of how it got started. But – a year later – maybe I have answered my question about if I can keep going. I don’t really think I have a choice. I am not cold enough to shut that damn door. It would be easier if I were, but I’m not. I guess that’s the mom in me. I’m a good mom, even though my ex’s lawyer said I was the ‘worst example of a parent he had ever seen’. That was just lawyer bullcrap, trying to scare and intimidate me. He was nothing but a bully, and our corrections system is full of them. I won’t be quiet. So, I guess I am in it for the long haul.