Is This Rehabilitation?
It’s wonderful, and I pray that God blesses it more and more each day. I would like to share an experience with you. I, not too long ago, had opportunity to visit an inmate whom I had been writing. He is a precious person. His crime was committed over 17 years ago having been involved with drugs that led to murder. I checked into his background on my own and it was typical of the rest. No real home, no mother and no father. Raised on the streets of NY he found his own way, the wrong way. I asked for permission to visit him for a year before he finally consented to allow me to come. He was ashamed as to what prison life had done to him and ashamed of the way he had to live, and still ashamed of the crime he’d committed over 17 years ago.
What I saw there astonished me! As I waited in the dining room, I noticed that the other guests there, were buying sandwiches and stacking them on the table top. As the inmates came in one by one to greet their anxious visitors, I noticed how short their greetings were and how they went straight for the food. After several had arrived, I heard them eating; they were choking! Literally they were so hungry. I started noticing then how poor they were. ALL of them were VERY skinny. They just couldn’t get enough food in their mouths fast enough. They went through about 3 sandwiches before they sat back and looked relaxed enough to talk. The inmate I went to see did the same thing. He usually wrote to me about food, vaguely, but always included food in his letters to me. I have photos of this man from his earlier years in another prison. He was healthy and buffed: very big muscles. I had to look at his name tag to recognize him. He was equally as poor as the rest. It looked like a concentration camp to me. They are forced to buy decent food to eat, yet don’t have any money to do so without the help of family and friends sending it to them. What if this person doesn’t have any family or friends?? There are many who do not. This opens the door of opportunity for them to get into trouble. This inmate I told you about, stole food from the kitchen so he could satisfy his hunger. He got caught with the food in his locker and was sent to confinement for 30 days. I called the prison and spoke with his classification officer who told me that he was caught with CONTRABAND. I was devastated, not knowing at the time exactly what had happened. This officer said everything he could, to discourage me from writing to, or having anything else to do with this inmate. I later found out from ANOTHER officer that he contraband he was charged with was NOT A KNIFE or anything like that: IT WAS FOOD!! I am concerned with one major thing here… IS THIS REHABILITATION or just plain cruelty?? These people live daily in a place where they can never feel or receive forgiveness. Can you imagine that? NEVER being forgiven??
I have so much to say about our prison system. I am studying law in college. I want to be a criminal defense attorney–hope to be someday–smile–If I don’t have a mental breakdown from the homework assignments first. I will not be very popular, but I want to be in the system as a CHRISTIAN attorney (show the world that there is such a thing) and try to get some things in this system changed. This is Christ’s work. These men and women MUST have daily rehabilitation, not daily torture. I will work to find a way to get this changed. I will be a poor attorney. I’m not getting into to it for the money. I’ve had money before. I’ve had it all before, lost it all, had it all again, lost it all again….there’s a much bigger picture here that I’ve been God blessed to see within the past 3 years.