Right after I typed up “Out of state moves” yesterday nice had numerous conversations with the people that they are staging to leave. Most don’t want to go. Some are scared, some have their families here and will miss their visits, few are going with the flow. The reality is I that you don’t have a choice. Most have people trying to fight for them to get taken off of the list. Some try threats of suicide, most have family calling the people in charge, and some families have even gathered in front of the capitol with signs.
I’m kind of a veteran in regards to doing time and going out of state. People have been coming to me for advice and I’ve been able to calm most and help them through this time. But as I was heating up some food I was caught off guard by a kid that is usually happy go lucky. He’s been incarcerated since a young age (15 or 16) and had 15 years fixed. I’m already quite aware of his journey and his efforts toward trying to beat the system in regards to sanity and growth. He’s done a really good job with what he has. He has no write ups in all of his time. As I said, he tries. He was upset to the point of tears. His mother visits him weekly and now he is going to be ripped from her again. He was upset and began to ask me all of the questions that I had just wrote about in regards to our states lack of effort and knowledge on how to fix their flawed system.
The biggest question was why the system never tried to help in his endeavor of rehabilitation for the last 12 years? After that followed the questions about will he get out in three years when he sees board? Why can’t the guys like us get to lower custody where we can make good money and do better programs and have more normalcy because of our outstanding records? All of his questions were great questions. I began to explain the very things that I discussed in the blog I wrote yesterday.
The thing about it is that two different type of people come to prison. Those who join it and become institutionalized and those who screwed up and are on a path of beating the system. Those who become institutionalized fall short to their surroundings. They are here to be warehoused and don’t make any effort toward change. Those who try to beat the system take things into their own hands. They try to use this time to their benefit in building their minds and bodies they do deep searching in regards to meaning or faith.
I asked my case manager a year ago, “what can I do to have the best chance at getting released on my fixed?” She told me that all I can do is my time and when I get close to getting out I’ll be able to take some programs. She knew that there is no answer to such a question. This kid is asking me the very same questions and all I can do is try and get him to focus on his betterment and becoming the man that he respects while doing his best to use this time as a learning experience and not a waste. At times it is hard to motivate one to have hope when you have no clue as to what the future holds. There is a goal of freedom and there is no true guarantee as to how one might achieve it. Not only that but how do I inspire a person who is struggling and helpless as he’s being ripped from his only support system once again? I suppose that when the system quotes certain things about what they are trying to accomplish but there is no accountability on their end, then we are to expect such things as this system breeds.
I had a warden tell me one time that my existence in prison is a blessing to those around me. I try to calm misunderstandings and I try to veer people from being reactive and striving for a better life in and out. I have found myself as that tool these last couple of days. Being the guy that people that are struggling can lean on and to be honest their need for strength allows for me to be strong or perhaps I might fall apart. Nothing about doing time is easy IF you care. The careless go through life with no issues, when anyone involved cares it creates a helpless feeling.
As far as my advice to this kid, we have to rise above our surroundings and the circumstances that they bring forth and we have to make the decisions that are morally correct. We have to know that we did our very best even in the face of wrong doings and continue to be the man that we are proud of being. They say no pressure no diamonds. In such moments we can only hope that we are worthy of our sufferings. As for his mother, he needs to be strong for her. My mother just sent me a card a couple of months ago that I will write a blog about where she thanked me for making things easier on her. Due to our crimes we have already created enough damage, now we should be doing our best to redeem ourselves. In that we must be strong for those we love and be strong for those around us. We must be compassionate for our fellow man regardless of race, flaw, or crime. I did my best to be what that kid needed yesterday in hopes that his life can continue to flourish beyond his sufferings and lessons can go beyond incarceration and be successful as a productive member of society. Even in such conversations I find myself growing and reinforcing my understandings of what life is about and how to get through such adversities without being reactive to ones emotions of how to care for what others may be experiencing and at times helping take some of the burden from their shoulders.
Categories: Trevor Booth