Monday, September 4, 2017

Three Hours With 20 Prisoners

I spent the morning with 20 inmates at St Albans Prison today.  I went there for National Library Week and did a workshop on writing.  Writing can help anyone to overcome their traumatic past through the cathartic experience of re-telling the story and dropping the emotional baggage that keeps you captive.  Writing frees a person and allows one to dream and set goals again.   The pen is the voice of the soul.   It was a wonderful day and we all enjoyed ourselves. 
I wish the public could just once have the honor of sitting with a group of inmates (because it was an honor for me) and you will soon realize that these are human beings – they could be your brother or father, your son or your uncle. 
Society has such a negative attitude towards prisoners.  Easy to say “You did the crime, now do the time”.  The saddest thing of all is that approximately 14% of our prisoners are incarcerated for crimes they did not commit but are sitting there because justice is bought in our country.  Advocates play Russian roulette with people’s lives swopping one accused of another and organizing the sentencing before they have even been to court.  And this is not even the shoddy and despicable police investigations we are speaking about.
There are more criminals that need to be in prison that are on the streets than the prisoners I met today.  The room was filled with so much potential.  Many people on the street and out there are not in prison because they just never got caught.  
You may wonder how I did it – spending three hours with 20 prisoners (and one or two wardens for 5 minutes at a time now and again) being sick.  Well, I did it with an oxygen machine and a wheelchair – I was assisted the entire time by the men and even had a medical professional administer my medication through my port.
God carried me through the day – after all, this is His work and we were told to visit prisoners.  I had a very happy day.  And I am the richer for it. 
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