Saturday, December 09, 2006

another letter day

A letter came from our son a few days ago, and as I usually include excerpts, I will do that. I have been thinking and reading about the prison system, and it is hard to come up with conclusions. I don't know who reads this blog or even thinks about such things, but I would definitely reference the jonsjailjournal link on it to get an accurate, genuine, somewhat disturbing and rarely comforting picture of life in prison and the people who are behind bars. I have more and more respect for the individuals in the criminal justice system who really do try to mete out fair sentences and have a real desire for the truth. It is so very difficult. I have real compassion for the families of victims, but I'm gaining an equal compassion for the families of the incarcerated. I think at the core of this lies the desire for true rehabilitation, or at least acceptance of where someone is and the wisdom to help them forward if that is at all possible. How do rehabilitation and punishment co-exist? How do we figure life is going to be better for people who are violent, confused, at a bad place in life to say the least, possibly mentally ill placing nearly impossible expectations on them, or just leaving them in a state of passive existence? Just a few things to ponder as I turn the page over to my son:

"Nearly 2007, how 'bout that? Let's get these years done already. You tend to get sick of powdered/bagged everything (including milk), labor intensive cigarettes, and no fridge for your opened food. Not to mention the incredibly strange sound eminating from the vent as of late. Where would I be without things to complain about...sigh..."

(He has a new cellmate with a tv, so he continues), "My cellie and I watched "Superman Returns" last night and tore it to pieces. It was too predictable to be remotely interesting. The thorough ragging we gave it make for a fun waste of time. Apparently, Superman has an illegitimate son before disappearing for 5 years. We wondered facetiously if Lois Lane would con him into a Maury appearance (you are the father!) then force him to pay 5 years of back-owed child support. Some dad he is...."

And he winds up the letter "That is all for now. Shane and I are hatching a morning count scheme involving tighty-whitey and bedsheet superman costumes. Got to keep it interesting. It screws with the guards' heads when you do something stupid for count. My cellie at the county used to do handstands while I'd stand on the desk, one foot on the tv. Shane and his old cellie used to take turns sitting on the toilet, stark naked except for a pair of gloves and and a hat reading Playboy. You could only get away with that during 3rd shift. We plan to create some new ones. Well, take care for now. Not to be outdone, irony will set in and I'll see you tomorrow. That's fine with me! All right, tell everyone I said "hi" and take care, as always. I love you all."

It's hard for me to get my hands around the big picture, so I leave you with a small snapshot of prison life day to day.


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