By: The American Pharaoh
As a child of poverty, adopted, and forged through the trials of living as a statistic within my country, which I love deeply, but can be a somewhat cruel and unattentive parent, I'm a firm believer that only a person who has experienced bondage, enslavement, captivity, or incarceration can speak of its horrors, mistreatments, shortcomings, oversights, fear tactics, mental abuses and much more. As that man, I write.
While homelessness and impoverishment, both personally experienced, are challenging ordeals, they're both preferred over incarceration. To be more precise with my statement I'll go as far as saying that merely taking away my loved ones is enough to make one contemplate the gravest of sins. But to be more general I'll say freedom. What freedoms? No... that's the wrong question. What is freedom?
Webster defines freedom in several ways and basically they all express a freedom of movement without restraint, which is true in its vaguest form, but allow me to attempt to expound on this unappreciated jewel of life.
Hopes, dreams, aspirations, and the desires of a person are the fuels which push them along even when they may tire. You work late, sleep for a couple of hours only to be awaken to the sound of an alarm calling you to another hard days labor. You rather stay in bed but you have bills for a car you desire to keep, rent for a house you've had your eyes on, need the money to spend on the kids you always dreamed of having, and so forth. You may just rise because you love your job since it's the one you always hoped for. Regardless of the reason you have the choice or freedom to choose rather you will sleep in or not.
It is the combination of your desires influencing your choices in life and accomplishments that give you the necessary drive to live. Those who commit suicide normally, but not always, find themselves with a deficiency in one or both of these areas due to some form of restraint on a freedom, right, or pursuit of happiness.
In the state of Georgia a life sentence is calling for no less than 30 years of a person's life before they're 'considered' for parole. Last time I checked the average life span for a Black male was around 65. Not much more or less for other races. I use Blacks only because the make up the majority of the prison system in a nation where they aren't they majority.
At the age of 17 you can be given a life sentence. In rare cases a child of a much younger age have received or can receive the same sentence. Now if a 17 year old teenager receives this sentence, he'll be 47 when he's 'considered' for release. The young man is expected to be near death in 18 years.
Let's look deeper at this example using a woman. Typically, 50 years of age is when a woman loses her ability to give birth. I've always assumed the majority of women have that on a 'to do list before I die,' but maybe I'm wrong. If I'm not, this is a thought she has to live with for 30 years within captivity. Remember the work example I used. Imagine having to get up every morning having thoughts like this and others on your mind. On top of having no choice to sleep in, because you're forced to work for free in the state of Georgia. If you choose not to work, you'll be punished. As if a life sentence isn't punishment enough.
I have a 15 year old daughter with mild autism. I was two years into her life when I was caught up in my captivity. I also have a life sentence. If I do not win any appeals, my daughter will be 32 years old when I am 'considered' for release Just writing this fact has filled my eyes with tears and my heart with sorrow. I do not consider myself to be soft hearted, but though I had decided to go into how heart wrenching this is... I now hesitate due to how it weakens me so. All I have the strength to say without completely breaking down is that I would stand toe to toe with the God who gave me life knowing honestly I will be struck down for the life of my daughter. And due to circumstance I can not be there for her as my heart yearns to be. She is my dream and being her father a freedom. As if this isn't punishment enough, I endure the oppressive characteristics of prison guards, a filthy environment, poorly ran facilities. I am forced to work for free, beaten for standing up for my rights, and the list could go on to staggering heights.
My mother may or may not be alive to illness, as well as my brother. My father is in his 60's already and I've lost my beloved stepfather already during this ordeal. My daughter, nieces, nephews, and younger cousins no longer recognize me. The mother of my child became addicted to drugs and lost custody of our child because she could neither mentally or emotionally deal with the loss of her child's father. These people and my God given right to love the were my freedoms. Freedoms forfeited for whatever reason the reader may choose to use. Assassin, terrorist, arsonist, or thief. I have lost all that I desire to live for when I was taken away from them. I even lost the right to live for myself. My only hope is to live again and that is threatened day by day existing in a place where men kill others and themselves because they act on the sufferings of having freedom taken away.
I am in no way saying a man shouldn't be incarcerated, though you will find nowhere in scripture where the God of Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob nor His Messiah chosen for us, nor the disciples of that Messiah, stated that prison should be a punishment for man. Stonings and death, but not the taking or restricting of one's freedoms by use of prisons. Prison was made by a most demonic mind and it's fitting considering that Yahweh did create a prison for Lucifer and his followers, but not man. So awful is the idea of a prison is that this is called the second death for the wages of sin.
Man was born to be free and our Constitution states that there are just some rights man are obligated too. Prison condemns those rights by restricting them. But our country has chosen to push those God given rights to the side for the safety of our societies and I don't disagree with them. I only seek to show that additional punishment of any form is no longer needed when you have taken the only things that makes a person a living thing and not livestock. The deprivation of my God given freedoms is punishment enough.
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