Tag: prison

A Mom’s Side of the Prison Journey – by Rose, Guest Blogger

Ive always been a fixer…fix the issues that my kids came up against. But then there was an issue I could no longer fix or control. All I could do is watch from the side lines. My son, my youngest, my baby was sentenced to 2 years TDCJ and 6 months State Jail. Oh the naivety when you know nothing of TDCJ. The day that the deal was struck and our lawyer assured us that he would be out in six months, the only reason he wouldn’t be is if TDCJ suddenly built new prisons to help with overcrowding.

So here we go, counting down to six months. My son was in county for about a month and said that was cake…if prison was like county this next six months would fly by. The morning he caught chain…I cried…and cried. That night trying to go to bed I had an anxiety attack that was out of this world, I couldn’t breath…my only thought was OMG MY child is in prison…PRISON! That’s a place for horrible people. The next 45 days with no calls from him were some of the hardest of my life. I’ll admit I was a pain in the ass. I called Middleton…thankfully those ladies that answered the phone were very sympathetic, nice and very patient with this mom new to this whole new world of prison. I worried about him and for him. I lived or rather existed in this world going thru the motions with this black cloud hanging over my head, tears constantly below the surface and a never ending feeling of what a horrible failure as a parent I must be.

I knew with my logical brain that I was not a failure, that kids get grown, make their own choices, their own mistakes and pay their own consequences. At this point I didn’t really have anyone I could talk to that understood…family was sad and tried to be supportive, but had not been down this road so they really didn’t know what this momma was thinking and feeling. One day while surfing thru the web looking up anything I could find that would give me some sort of peace I came across this blog…I even emailed Magnum with my questions…and was probably a total pain in the ass with my questions and my getting defensive and pissy over some of the comments by others to my questions lol.

The Jpay.com forum and Magnum’s blog helped me so much…to connect with others that were on this road, that knew first hand all the emotions I was feeling, the worry and the fears. The worries and fears are legit. Prison is ugly and its not a safe haven nor is it a rehab facility. Six months rolled around and my sons parole was denied. I’ve come to notice from talking to others that a lot don’t make their first parole, I guess maybe they don’t feel like you’ve been there long enough to learn any real lessons, I don’t know…maybe it really is a money game (that’s another rant of its own lol), but regardless he was stuck until the next review. When you have a young son going in there that thought he was invincible and learns the hard way he isn’t…it’s very heartbreaking. You can do nothing…just pray and hopefully find a support group, online, in person whatever where you can cry, vent and share your story with people who know exactly what you are going thru.

I came to realize that maybe there were lessons needing learned…no matter how unfair it felt to me…lifestyle changes that had been made that needed to be cemented into place and as hard and ugly as prison is it was the cement needed to hold those changes in place. I’m not trying to be selfish or think I’m better than any of the others who love my son, but I do know that while he was in prison my life honestly felt like it was on hold, no real joy, just going thru the motions of living. Other family members still seemed to be enjoying life…trips, partying, life as normal…and it pissed me off to no end! How dare you live like all is well when my child, your son, your brother, your spouse is in hell. I’m in hell. So yea I felt very sad and even jealous that life was going on and being lived and enjoyed by those my son loved the most and couldn’t understand how they were doing it. Maybe I’m crazy, maybe I’m different than other people…but yea I definitely was doing time too.

It’s been awhile – Now I am married and a father!

Hello all, I have been very lax in keeping up with the blog. A whole lot of real life got in the way. Just let me take a minute to brag. I am married to the most awesome woman in the world. We got married on 9/11. A funny date for a marriage but that was the same day I had parole, and I had to consolidate everything so I didn’t miss much work, lol. The way I look at it, that is a good and happy thing that occurred on a day remembered for something unhappy and bad. Maybe over time, when enough babies are born on that day, and people get married on that day, and other happy events, we won’t only remember it as bad. So I did my part.

And, guess what — we just had a baby! Yep, I am a father to a big healthy son. He is so cool. Lays there and sleeps a lot now, but he’s GOING to do great things in this world. And if I have anything to do with it, going to TDC won’t be on his list. Nope, none of that for my son. I hope I can be a good father and good husband. I am trying my best. I will admit, it’s harder some days than others. And having a family changes everything. Before if I screwed up I was screwing up myself. Now a lot of other people are going to get affected by it. I got to keep it together.
I am working hard pretty much every day. Construction so bad weather means no work. And I am broke most of the time, lol. But hey, I have a little place of our own, and we get by.

Hope you all are hanging in there. If you are reading this because you have a loved on incarcerated somewhere, don’t ever give up on them. Everybody deserves hope. Some of us have pushed things too far over and over and maybe you feel things will never change. I am proof that things do change. I am not saying I have it all figured out, I don’t for sure. And believe me, I know I got a ways to go. But look how far I have come. Less than two years ago I was locked up for the 4th year in a row during the holidays, between rehabs and prison. Now I am a married man and a father, holding a full time job, and stressing about paying the light bill rather than stressing about where my next high was coming from.

Oh and by the way, for anyone looking for some kinship and advise regarding the incarcerated, I strongly suggest www.prisontalk.com. It’s a very strong forum with lots of good information. For anyone wanting to help or learn more about helping the incarcerated, a great organization is The Human Kindness Foundation. It was founded by Bo and Sita Lozoff. Bo wrote “We’re all Doing Time”, probably one of the most widely read books by inmates ever, and one that brought me great hope and a better understanding of myself and the world. Check it out, you don’t need to be in prison to get a lot out of it. You can buy it on the Human Kindness site at http://humankindness.bigcartel.com/product/we-re-all-doing-time. They send this book for free to inmates all over the world. If you buy a book on their site, it helps their efforts.

I am hoping for all of you out there that you pass the holidays safe and sound with your family and friends. If you have someone incarcerated, keep the faith. Keep the candle burning. Peace out y’all. I will try to be more regular on here, but I do love you all.

Life in prison – settling into the everyday routine

So this is the real part of being in prison. It’s not the being scared of the unknown or the fear of losing freedom. It’s the knowing that you aren’t going anywhere, day after day after day. It’s being bored and stuck and trying to make the best of  the bad result of your own bad decisions.

After getting through intake, I was put into General Population and I thought I might be staying there, but I was moved again to another facility. The new place is much farther from home too, so I won’t be getting many visits. That is a disappointment. At the new unit, I was first put into “Ag Seg”. This is short for Aggravated Segregation and they put everyone new there at first while they figure out where they should be placed. At first I thought to myself, “so this is solitary…”

The first day in Ag Seg wasn’t so bad, after all, I hadn’t had any privacy in awhile. But then I realized just how quickly I could lose track of time and run out of things to think and do. I had one book to read that I was rationing. I was scared if I finished it I would be with nothing to do at all. The guards in that area played their radios, and I could hear it. It was nice to hear music but sometimes the songs made me really sad. My room was small, I had a bed and a toilet, basically. Not much else. The light was a little dim so reading and writing were tough on my eyes after a while. I thought I might be there a day or two, and I prepared myself to wait it out, but in total I ended up being there for over a week.

Finally, I was moved to General Population. My dorm area is smaller here than it was in my last unit, so it feels a little more crowded, but there is work out equipment in the rec yard here, so that is an improvement. There are 2 televisions, but they are controlled by a group in here so we watch what they want to watch. Also, the tables are controlled too, so I have to write sitting on my bunk, which isn’t as easy. Other than that, I haven’t had many issues. It is a little more intense than at my last place, and people are more segregated by race here. I hate that part but it’s just the way it is here. It’s not really a choice.

I have been assigned a job doing yard work cutting grass but there isn’t any right now, so I have a lot of time to myself. I exercise every day, doing 1000 pushups, 500 situps and running and other routines daily. I play dominoes and watch tv, read and write. I am waiting to get into some classes.

It’s so strange finding myself living this life and more strange that it is starting to feel… normal, in a way, to have this same routine every day. I get a few letters and look forward to mail time, it’s definitely a highlight to get mail. What I see ahead of me is a lot of boredom and time to pass. I can see how it would be easy to fall into what others have said, and just let this time go by without doing work on myself while I am here. I have to find a way to focus on keeping my mind set on improving myself and getting my discipline in place for when this is behind me.

Now that the unknown of intake and getting to my unit is behind me, it feels like a waiting game. I have my people I hang out with and I have my routine down. I could give a bunch of details about the days here but most of it isn’t really that great and it would feel more like complaining. I feel I am sitting back for a minute and seeing what is next, and how I choose to make the most of this place I am locked up in. Anyways, if anyone has some comments or suggestions as to how to stay on the up side, I will be happy to hear them.

Till next time ~ Peace, Love and Noodles

Fights over the TV in jail – Small things change a man

Today is Saturday and of course, a fight almost broke out due to the TV, and most likely there will be a fight tonight as well.

A circumstance like this truly makes me think about the differences in inmates and how we decide to carry ourselves. On one side you have a type of man who has the mindset that prison was made for reacting. When I say reacting I mean that they react out on instinct and fear when a confrontation arises. They react with their fists first, not with their mind and heart. I believe that some men just cannot swallow their pride, and cannot be OK with not being the big man, the one with the final say so.

Of course, in here you can’t let yourself get preyed on but you don’t have to fight if you don’t want, especially if you are not in danger. Who is the bigger man, the one who raises his fist or the one who prays for the other? My opinion is the one who prays for the other. It is easier said than done, but just as I decided to start a blog today, I also have to decide to grow, one step at a time.

I believe that even the small things change a man. You may see many inmates keep their personal areas a mess, so start by cleaning yours, and keeping it clean. This way you practice discipline. When someone angers you, pray for the individual. This way you can practice a little humility. These are the things I have personally decided to do, and I feel that these small things will help me in my journey of not returning to this place called prison.

As they say, “Life’s a trip” so I might as well enjoy the ride. There is no reason in me being miserable any more. Today is a new day, and another day that I’m going to say “yes I can.”

Peace be with you all,
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