On The Way Out
By: Alex Diaz
As a lifer, seeing other convicts parole can either be depressing, envious or warming. It depends on the type of person one is. If a lifer was released after serving a considerable amount of time, the chances of him/her re-offending would be slim to none. The outside world and even those convicts with an out date can't possibly imagine what it feels like when the judge hands you down that life sentence. The sense of hopelessness is immediate. I often thought, when I was an out date convict that doing life would be tuff but I never realized until the judge actually said it to me that it's more than just tuff: it can be emotionally draining on the mind and heart.
You instantly see the value in your freedom and become aware of the error in your ways. You go back to your cell look at the wall and realize this is it.
No more dreams, aspirations, or those surprises life has for you in the free world. Everything you will ever know will be behind these walls. After some years you will pretty much see all prisons little tricks, events and revolving doors.
However, most of us try to make the best of it with a smile. Others fall prey to drugs & alcohol to cloud the mind and acquire emotional release. Some become violent and externally vent these frustrations on others to release their hopelessness. This is rare but most lifers are well aware especially in California that there is nothing the system can do to hurt you, save for a few years in the SHU.
Then there are those lifers who refuse to live in the grips of hopelessness and take their own lives but for the most part us lifers are still here holding onto a little faith in the future. We had to be crushed by freedom in order to cherish it. This makes us experts on crafting our own destiny's out there if only we had another shot at it.
It is our convict duty to give small counsel to those paroling and give them guidance on their journey out the door. So many of them take for granted their chances at freedom. They don't see their freedom as opportunities to grow a a person. All the things that we overlook out there as everyday affairs, a lifer would peel his soul to experience.
From walking to the fridge to get a meal to getting stuck in traffic and enjoying the radio. Their are countless moments we wish we could re-live or create anew. A parolee should always seek paths that will keep him/her away from incarceration. That being employment, time with family, healthy fun and relationships. When I was on parole it wasn't easy from going to college and work as a normal citizen It's tuff after having lived in here. Here everything is handed to you. To having responsibilities.
It's much easier in here. I had times of doubt where I considered coming back to prison to gather my thoughts. It's a lot harder to collect one's self out there among the hustle and bustle of life than it is in here. Though you need to have fortitude and power thought the hard times, rather than submit to the easy way out. Often I look back and wonder if I'd only have continued to press through the obstacles before me, I'd probably not be where I am now. My choices are my own and it is my fault I chose wrong. The minute we get relaxed & confident we can slip up into our criminal ways, is when we need to spook ourselves back into reality. America speaks of freedom of equality. We're fortunate to be born into that institution. We simply must learn to appreciate it and enjoy life outside the walls.
C.S.P. CCA (SHU)
P.O. Box 3476
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