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I watched a video recently about inmates who have long sentences and what happens to those who initially supported them – those that were good friends and even family, spouses and long term girlfriends. They think at the time they will wait for them until they get out. They will stick by them until they are released no matter how long it takes. They mean it when they say it. They can’t imagine not being there for them, but they eventually go away. They start writing less and having excuses. They slowly forget them. They go on. But what if there are children?  

The documentary stated that three years was the about the longest time even the people most in love can make it. Brothers and sisters make themselves believe they are too busy. But really, how much time does it take to write a brief note and say, “I still love you, bro.” instead of saying, “It’s not my fault you’re in there.” as if anyone blamed them for it. I only know what it has done to Jamie because he had to find a way to make himself not care. I know how hard that is. I’ve been through it but for different reasons. The pain is the same.

People can be pretty selfish and it’s hard for them to support someone who is incarcerated, so a lengthy sentence means they are pretty much on their own.  A few kind words helps with depression when your family shows they love you. Family is often the first to hurt you because they feel entitled to do it. They pass judgement and are often the first to hang you out to dry. When the sentence is over do they expect all will be forgiven and life goes on as it did many years before? That is a tough question. I doubt they’d want to hear about what they have been through. Experiences have made them different people . How can they relate to each other? If it was a long sentence or a life sentence – forget it. So many people inside have absolutely no one, regardless of the reason they are there. Many didn’t have anyone before they went in.

Remembering My Life  by Sonni Quick  copyright 2015

After three years they might still have mom; maybe their kids and maybe they are now grown, although probably they visited infrequently. The more years that go by, older family dies and you are on your own. The unfairness of sentencing – life with no possibility of parole for what could be a simple theft – theft for a variety of reasons – with no one hurt. Still a crime, but a crime that should have a sentence that equals the crime and likely, at most should carry 5 years and then released -given back their life, but instead, depending on the state they are given life – a death sentence in some states because you are black. Buried alive. And maybe it was a serious crime. Either way the sentence is the same -cut off from everyone they love so they can be slaves for corporations who think their life has no value beyond the work a slave is meant to do.

I don’t blame my daughter for moving on from her life with Jamie. He doesn’t blame her, either. He never stopped loving her because she will always be the mother of his son. They are connected, but he has long since wanted anything else from her except for her to be happy. Life was hard raising kids on her own with little help. Her life is stable now with a man in her life who is good to her and her children. He has been a good father to their son and her other children. I am happy about that, but it left Jamie on his own without his family who hasn’t been there for him at all in eleven years. It left him without his son because no one would bring him to visit.

His family has not once helped him see his son. Excuses for ten years. No one could be bothered. I do blame them. They let him suffer on his own. No one thought of what that would do to him. The law of cause and effect is strict. Even if they are Christian you real what you sow. You get back what you give.

I worked hard to keep his head screwed on straight because I cared. No one else cared. Was I supposed to walk away from him, too, and still live with myself? Was I supposed to hurt him, too? Is that the kind of person I am? Should I have felt after three years that I had done enough? No, absolutely not. I only wish I could have done more.

*****************************

Sept 2016

Hello Beautiful,

From reading your letter it looks like your hands have been full. All this stuff you do on the internet. I’ve never messed around on the internet. Of course it’s nothing like it was back in the 90’s. We had a computer but no internet. There was no Windows or a mouse that you clicked on a screen. time-coverI was reading the new Time magazine I got. On the cover it has a little furry monster with horns, a big grin and also had a laptop on his lap. The article speaks about all different websites, what they are used for and so on. However, the main topic was about the hate in the internet world. It’s everywhere and it’s crazy.  I think about that. People can hate and not be seen. They teach their kids to hate. You can pass them on the street and not know how much they hate and crap they spread all over the world. They don’t get hurt, but it causes other people to hurt each other.

Moving on: Guess what I had for breakfast. I must say the breakfasts have been a lot better lately. Scrambled eggs, two pieces of toast, jelly and butter’ 1oz bowl of bran flakes and peaches. On this date next month I will have the exact same thing. The menu does not change.

I know it’s been hard taking care of your mom and doing all the things you do. Don’t try to do too much. You usually do. As time goes by maybe you’ll have more help from other family members. Please tell your mom I said hi and tell her not to give up.

I do know this. If I believe in anyone it is you. If you tell me not to worry, then okay, I won’t worry. You tell me you aren’t going anywhere. I believe that. I have to believe that. Sometimes it is hard because I see what happens to dudes in here. I get scared I’m going to lose you, but you tell me you aren’t going anywhere. I don’t think I would have made it without you. I won’t worry anymore.

********************

Hey, can you do something for me? Can you look up anything you can find on the statue of Liberty in New York? I told this dude she had a name so he and I went back and forth about how it was a gift from the French, but we don’t know anything else about her history. Also, from now on, if you send books please have them be educational. English, history, math and science. I really do need to work on my education. I can’t wait for them to let me learn things.

That’s all for now. I have to get this out before they pick up mail.

Love always, Jamie

Someboy's son, sonely inmate, inmate family loss
source credit: ripten..com

THE NEXT MONTHLY ISSUE OF THE ITFO NEWSLETTER WILL BE GOING OUT SOON. TAP THE LINK TO GET IT DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX. EACH ISSUE NOW WILL FOCUS ON A DIFFERENT ASPECT OF PRISON ISSUES EACH MONTH. THERE HAS BEEN NO TALK OF PRISON REFORM SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN WHEN EVERYONE JUMPED ON THE BANDWAGON SAYING THEY WOULD BE THE ONE TO FIX IT. NOW NOTHING IS BEING SAID. IT WILL BE THE PEOPLE DEMANDING CHANGE THAT HAS THE ONLY CHANCE OF CHANGING THIS. PLEASE POST THIS ON YOUR OWN SM AND ASK YOUR FRIENDS TO SHARE IT, TOO. WE’VE SEEN WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE COME TOGETHER AS THE AMERICAN INDIANS HAVE DONE. WE NEED TO MAKE PRISON REFORM IMPORTANT, NOT JUST TALK ABOUT IT. CAN WE DO THAT?

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2 thoughts on “How Long Would You Wait For An Inmate?

  1. When I was young… my brother was in jail for 12 years. I didn’t even know where, so I couldn’t write him. None of us could.

    But I waited, and when he got out, he came home… and found us all waiting for him there. So it does happen.

    Liked by 1 person

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