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Friday, October 7, 2011

One thing that has not changed in 20 years that I have been in prison are "Levi's Jeans"

I just got home from work, and I am pretty tired. I work at a federal re-entry center. Been working there for a while and I thought I kind of want to share my experiences with others as this may help me to get it out. As a matter of confidentiality I will not share any names or last names of my cases but I sure want to talk about them and my experience. I am also thinking to start posting in YouTube as it will be easier to talk then write, because sometimes I just don’t think I could explain everything I want to say through the words. In fact when you think that words are not powerful enough to express what you feeling... I think we "got a problem". Well not really however, I feel overwhelmed sometimes from the stories I hear and the stuff I read in their file. Sometimes i go to sleep and I cannot sleep. The sun comes out and I am still thinking… then I don’t what I am thinking. Many time, while I am driving from work home, often it’s dark… I get lots in my thought and when I come home I don’t even remember anything of how I got home. Pretty unsafe I know… anyway I kind of want to share a little of my views about this kind of things and the way I see it. I totally could be wrong and I would love your input.
Ok...where do I start and for whom I want to talk first.
I think I will start with the story of the person that actually made me think about sharing my experiences with you, the story that I named the post after.
Covered in Tattoos, a middle age man, with a smile in his face and a lot of regret in his eyes. He has been in someone else’s caseload until I got him. I use to see him in the hallway and he use to say always “hello” to me. I had not read his file but I sure thought that he seemed different. One of the days, he comes to my office for our weekly meeting to check how things are going. A broken soul that still is trying to pick up his pieces left all over the streets of the city where he sold his drugs. I read his file, and I cant lie, it was pretty dark, but then I like to hear their stories too, I like to know what they think about their self and their crime, I like to know the other views but the one that state and feds are telling me about my clients, because I think that's the only way we could work together. I may know the story, but I sure want their version of the story and their understanding and how they feel about it. It’s easy to judge others while we were not there when things had happen, however, this is not me sympathizing with their crimes, absolutely not, I just like to know if they understand what they did was wrong or how do they think of the "event". Throughout my school and my life, I always thought that they are more than one side of the story and all sides were important equally. Anyway, I will stop there, before I start a whole new subject. Back to the guy, we start talking, and you could see his pain running through his veins just as deep as his scars that life has left all over him. He tells me that he has been in prison on an off all his life, he had ended up in the streets at age 12 and since then he chose different paths. His father was very abusive towards his mother, and he had become many times the shield of that anger and abuse. Without being able to fight, protecting was a missing word in his dictionary just as it was his childhood.
He started talking about his mother, about his daughter and all other people that had made an impact in his life, for good or worst, about the girl from Scotland, who use to sell drugs for him, and the imagination that he had had about the place where she had grown up. About his basement that had left some dark memories on him, about his life and the prison system in the United States. This is a subject that gets my attentions always. I have read so much about prisons but I never could connect the books to the real people. I always thought the authors like to exaggerate their stories, because otherwise we would not read them. I have grown up in another country, another continent in fact and a lot that I hearing during my daily workdays is very new to me, I feel pain, so much pain, that I can’t even explain… in fact sometimes I think I need to use my native tongue to be able to explain what I feel, yet I tried and did not work, despite the fact that we have 36 letters and a very complicated syntax, when I hear these people talk about their lost life behind the bars all that becomes useless. About their dreams that will always remain dreams and how they can’t dream when they sleep…and their past that will hunt them down for years to come.
He starts talking about his mom. I could see that he loved her so much, so much that it’s kind of hard for him to talk about. She had lived all her life praying for one night to have him home and spend some time, maybe as when he was little, when he was just this angel baby who will grow up buying and selling death. To have only one night him, without all his others stuff that he had in himself, for which he believes she maybe did not know. I could not imagine how many night his mother went to sleep with the wish he would have changed, that he would have been in the way she wanted him to be. Well, as we all know, sometimes things don’t go as we plan or wish, and a lot of events in our lives are nothing more but a manifest of our actions. Few weeks later, as he was getting more comfortable with me, he brought a picture of his mother and a drawing that he had made, of his mother, a flower that says “I love you mom” which he never had given to him because she had passed away. His eyes were watering, trying to hide his emotions because of his pride, I think he told me that ‘Man don’t not cry’… they suffer, I thought.
I will talk about this another time, as I am kind of getting emotional to talk about it… but I promises I will continue…