You Talk To HIM? by Rodney Fenner

Hello world. There are so many things you have to deal with as a prisoner. Today, I talked to my best friend and she told me somebody was speaking negatively about me. As in, someone was speaking in a discouraging manner about the fact that she talks to someone who’s incarcerated. It’s bad enough that I’m in prison, sentenced to segregation from society along with everyone I know and love, sentenced to a subtraction of all privacy and freedom, but I also have to deal with those on the outside who discourage the people closest to me from talking to me. What’s worse is these people who speak negatively about me don’t even know me. They don’t know why I’m in here or how long I have. They literally know nothing about me except the fact that I’m in prison. There’s such an egregious stigma attached to people who are incarcerated. The powers that be (police, media, government, etc.) have shaped public opinion in such a way that they frown upon people who even talk to us in prison. That is so counterproductive and makes absolutely no sense. The people who talk to us and support us are part of what protects our mental health. They help guide us away from the mentality that got us here. Depression, feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, helplessness and many other things attack the mind while in prison. Actually, these feelings and mind states attack everyone. If you’ve ever experienced these feelings before, take what you felt and intensify it times one hundred. That’s how it is in here with prisoners because most times we have nothing to distract us from it and being physically imprisoned, all it takes is a look around to incite and amplify those emotions. Like I was saying, it’s counterproductive because we are the people who will eventually be released back into society. Why would you take away or discourage the positive support system of a person who you know is capable of negative acts and who will be released back into society? Why wouldn’t you encourage that support system? Why wouldn’t you want that person to be a better person? Why wouldn’t you help? I may be coming home to your neighborhood or even next door. I’ve dealt with this most of my time here, but it was mostly when I was in a relationship. It’s crazy that even my friends are being discouraged from talking to me by the people around them. What’s crazier is that the people who do that probably have a family member or a friend who’s incarcerated. People tend to forget that we are still people. We are people who have made mistakes and broken the law, however, we are still people. We still have thoughts, emotions hopes, dreams, loved ones and everything else that they have that make them human. So if we are all human and we all make mistakes, why is it that because I was caught and punished for my mistake, I’m all of a sudden not worthy of the love and support of anyone? I’m not worthy to be treated like a human being anymore? Does my mistake make me irretrievable? If I am irretrievable, everybody is because everybody makes mistakes. I understand some people who are the victims of crimes. They have a personal reason for feeling the way that they do, however, they shouldn’t just throw every person in prison in a category with whomever they have those negative feelings for. It’s ridiculous how people don’t want others to be judgemental of them, but they’re quick to judge somebody else, even people they don’t know and have never even seen. If you are someone who talks to a person in prison, I applaud and encourage you. Pleases don’t let anyone’s judgemental attitude deter you from what you’re doing. Trust me, your presence is needed and desired. I’ve seen what it looks like when a person doesn’t have any outside support. Needless to say, it’s not a pretty picture. I know that there are some bad apples in this particular bunch, but I promise we are not all that way. At the same time, that same statement could be said of people on the street. There are bad apples there also. If anything, you should be more skeptical of them because they haven’t been caught and therefore they are undercover bad apples. That’s worse than the bad apple you can see. The point of that statement is, you take a risk when you deal with anyone, no matter if they’re imprisoned or not. I know the stigma of being a prisoner all too well and I may spend the rest of my life trying to shake it off, even when I’ve “paid my debt to society”. So to everyone who loves, supports and is loyal to a person who’s incarcerated, I personally thank you in the sincerest way. Keep doing what you’re doing no matter what anyone else thinks or says.

Rodney Fenner
DOC #1436377

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