Thursday, November 11, 2010

"The Burden"

I am fairly certain that most believe prison is a harsh, violent place, filled with those unfit to live successfully in society. While a portion of those in here fit that description, many of us were young, foolish and impulsive when we committed our crimes. It took a lesson of great magnitude to wake us up to the reality of life. Some would say too little, too late. Now our lives are to be wasted as the lawmakers have determined it serves them to dispose of us like garbage or use us for their own greedy ends.

Currently, my position is one that leaves me a burden on my family and on the state. I have no means by which to relieve this, as the institutional policies prevent me from doing anything to elevate my circumstances. Not that I should profit or get rich but I wish to be able to support myself like any responsible adult.

This is not my greatest concern though. What troubles me the most is my past. Looking back I can see the consequences of my actions, not on myself but on others. I am beginning to understand empathy and truly reflect on the pain that I have caused others throughout my years of ignorance. My remorse is not for myself but for everyone else. For my brother, who used to adore and idolize his older brother, who is now bitter and angry...My brother, who is heartbroken and headed down a bad road. Not that he was ever the "target" of my actions but only now am I realizing how much greater the impact of my past. My remorse is for my Mom, who sheds so many tears and often blames herself for me going wrong...Though it was never her fault. My remorse is for all those who have experienced loss because of me or were in any way burdened by my own stupidity.

If an apology could fix anything then let the mending begin. For I truly am sorry but an apology can't take away the past. Honestly, I don't know if it is worth anything in the grand scheme of life. I suppose those affected by my mistakes have to accept that apology but it still doesn't change anything that has occurred.

I now take a moment to ask, on behalf of the ones who wish to atone, what can we do? Personally, I wish to do all I can to contribute to society, to give back all I can. I'm just not sure where to begin. I suppose the inspiration I can offer through this blog is a start but I feel I could do so much more. The problem is American prison systems are just warehousing us, not giving us the chance to contribute, to atone.

Grant me and others like me the opportunity to do something worthwhile. Enough of my life has been wasted.

Now, it may sound as though I am begging for clemency. While I desire freedom, I realize and accept what I have done and why I am in prison. Someday I will get out and I will continue working towards a productive life. All I am saying, on behalf of myself and my fellow "repentants", is that this time should be just as productive. Save the "warehouses" for those who don't care about making something better out of their lives.


  1. This is a good message that I'm glad to have heard coming from you. I hope there is eventually someway you can receive what you have requested. It only makes sense.

    Tossing It Out

  2. I hope that you get that opportunity.

  3. Too bad there's no way to seaparate the two elements.

  4. There is always hope. The courage to admit your mistakes and the desire to make a difference is only the beginning. You're already putting things in motion by expressing yourself here.

    I don't have an easy answer but I can promise you that there is always a choice about what you choose to do about your situation. I commend you for telling the truth, in spite of how difficult it is.

  5. apologies to you Dan for not leaving a comment lately. sometimes i just cannot connect to some of your posts. i'm not one to leave an off-handed comment behind on those. but this one was i believe is your BEST EVER post that i have ever read here!!! you are closer to the place where new beginnings can only come from. the heart...

  6. Depending on the system you're in, you may have access to work programs or education opportunities. Check with your case manager and express your desire to do *something* to improve your lot and pay some of your way. If your manager says you don't qualify for these programs now, ask how you *can* and work toward qualification through good behavior or whatever.

    Our local system has a number of programs, but they're only really accessible if prisoners take the time and ask about them. I will pray that the system you're housed in has similar programs. There are horrible prisons out there, and I hope that you're in one that provides opportunities to people like you.

    Do the best you can, with what you have. Don't give up.

  7. My heart goes out to you. I completely agree that we don't have a system that enables people to turn their lives back around (which logically includes beginning to make amends and begin the process toward productivity). I really hope you are heard. I think there are so many people full of judgment who think prison should be about punishment, but it would be a lot better for us as a society if it were about reform whereever possible.

  8. Dan-

    I'm a friend of Lee's, and I won't insult you by saying I know how you feel.

    Even at almost fifty years, when I am obligated to sit still, it drives me insane, so I cannot imagine how my reaction would be if my world were reduced to the size of yours.

    I will say that I have learned that there's not a whole lot of percentage in regret. As little as it may seem to you, an apology is really all you can do. Then it's up to those who care about you (and I believe they do) to forgive you.

    Give them a chance to.

    And I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive yourself.

    Once outside, I think you will find a mix-some people open to second chances and some skeptics.

    It seems to me if you can make it inside, outside will be no problem.

    Hang in there!


  9. This was a great post and I just want you to know that no matter what you are an amazing brother and I love you very much.

  10. The fact that you desire to atone for what you did tells me that you will find a way to do just that.

    Your story is a good reminder to all of us that prisons are full of PEOPLE and deserve to be treated that way.