My 7,861st Day In Prison

By · Monday, February 16th, 2009

Monday, 16 February 2009

I left my cubicle at 3:05 this morning. The extraordinary visit I enjoyed with my wife yesterday took a lot of energy out of me, so I slept in a little longer than usual. The payment for those extra 30 minutes of sleep would mean that I had to sacrifice my morning reading time in order to meet my writing goal for the morning.

A storm was crossing California. I heard the wind howling outside of our sturdy housing unit and I knew my morning exercise would be a challenge. The weather conditions would not deter me. These types of obstacles gave me an opportunity to show the meaning of commitment. It was the same way I felt about waking early to begin my writing. I wanted to live as an example for my fellow prisoners, especially those who participated in the classes I taught or the groups I led.

Prison had the potential to debilitate those who lacked focus. Mistakenly believing that they could not make a difference in their lives while serving time, they overslept, they wasted hours with television, table games, and recreational activities. By leading a deliberate adjustment strategy, I strove to show my fellow prisoners how they could prepare in ways that would help them emerge stronger. They could become better husbands, better fathers, better Americans, and better neighbors. The more people I could help embrace such concepts, the more I felt that I could empower myself.

By 7:00 I completed my third blog article. I went outside in the rain and wind to run. I completed 10 miles, lifting my tally to 599 miles over the past 66 straight days of running.

When I returned to the housing unit I called Carole. We spoke for a few minutes and she relayed messages she had received from my web site. A professor from Michigan sent some questions and I was pleased when I heard that he had been a former prison warden who was using one of my books as a resource to teach college students who studied corrections. I appreciated opportunities to contribute to the education of others, and I felt a sense of accomplishment and meaning in learning that a former prison warden appreciated my work.

Generally, I sensed that, as individuals, many of the people who worked in corrections respected the deliberate adjustment strategy I chose and the efforts I made to prepare for success upon release. As part of an institution, however, they felt that they had to enforce the culture of confinement. Such perceptions led to the continuing cycle of failure through which I struggled daily to overcome.

In the afternoon I interviewed another prisoner I wanted to write more about, and I wrote a fourth blog. One of the newer prisoners at Taft camp had been taken to segregation. Rumors were ubiquitous that the reason was his violation of visiting room rules. I wrote a blog that emphasized the importance of exercising discipline during visiting; consequences were severe for those who stood accused of misbehavior in visiting.

Later I wrote a love letter to my wife, expressing how much I appreciated her surprising me with a visit yesterday. I was in my rack by 6:15 and asleep before 7:00.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.