Tuesday, July 25, 2006

prison faces

It seems that unless we are thrust into actual situations and circumstances, we really can't imagine or see the truth about them. The one thing that truly and completely shocked me into realizing prison life touches every strata of class, people group and income level was the faces of the actual families of prisoners. You could still harbor illusions watching these burly guys in jumpsuit and canvas sneakers coming through the metal doors into the visitation area, but that would all end seeing who was on the other side of the glass.

One such family, or individual, that made me see how deeply the prison experience intersects with real life, was a beautiful Indian teenager. She was beyond pretty. When this girl walked by you with her shining jet black hair, flawless skin and huge brown eyes, it was not a stretch to imagine that Cleopatra or Neferitti had just passed by. She had a grace and ease in her manner that so belied her surroundings it was like seeing a lion walking through rush hour traffic. The county visitation area was grimy, cold, ugly and so cruelly public it seemed an insult to someone completely undeserving of it's harshness and horror. It was not difficult to find out that this girl's father was a doctor who prescribed drugs illegally. He was in the prime of his life with a wife and daughters and apparently felt the need to have more material possessions than could be gained by legal means. What a price he forced this child to pay. His life destroyed, his wife robbed of her life's partner and unable to start again at this time in life, and his lovely daughter bereft of a father...even if he did return quickly life would never be the same again.

It is easy to imagine that prisoners and their families are freaks of nature, trailer trash, unworthy of living in polite society, not worth knowing, ignorant and poor, people unlike ourselves. Until it happens to your family. Then you see the truth reflected in the eyes of wives, children, friends and sweethearts who probably live and work right alongside of you. Our family does.


Blogger ~:*:*:Pixie:*:*:~ said...

Ooooh myyyyy. This in particular struck a chord.

6:47 PM  

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