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Even Good People Make Mistakes 

Never did I ever think I would know and love somebody who was in prison. After all, everyone in prison should rot in there forever for the crime they committed, right?
I have seen and heard it numerous times, “lock them up and throw away the key”. In fact, before my brother was in the system I thought the same thing. It’s easy to assume everyone in prison must be bad people. I was naive. Just as many, many, people are naive.
You see, my younger brother was 18 years old when he committed his crime. He was an addict. He had been smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol since he was 12 years old. He thought he knew it all back then. He was naive.
He was both high and drunk when he decided to rob a Walgreen’s at 3am with an unloaded B.B. gun. He was arrested at 3:12am on 3/12. He was sentenced to 8 to 10 years in prison.

This was his first offense.
Now I get it. What he did was absolutely wrong and I do not condone what he did. However, what I don’t understand is how he got 8 to 10 years for robbery, but people with much more intense crimes get sentenced to less time. There is no consistency in the system.
I never thought twice about prison until my brother was in there. Things are not what many “outsiders” believe that it is. Of course, they want to make it a place people don’t want to come back to, but being treated like a wild animal is just wrong.
Prison is dangerous, even for people who want no trouble. There are still drugs, gangs, alcohol, violence, and weapons in prison. Nobody is truly safe at all times. You always have to watch your surroundings.
It’s scary thinking about the things my brother has seen or been treated like. The medical care is an absolute joke. There are not really any productive programs to help these people become better people. Of course, with state funding, prisons are the first to get budget cuts. Which, of course, means they want to make as much money off the inmates and their families as possible. Phone calls, envelopes, stamps, paper, deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, tooth brush, and “extra” things cost money.
I cannot forget to mention the corruption that goes on in there. The purposeful provoking of inmates by some of the correctional officers, or “guards”. The inappropriate relationships some guards have with some of the inmates. Guards sneaking in things for inmates. Many people setting up the inmates to fail. How can we expect decent people to come out of the system when they are mistreated?

The prison tries to cover up their wrong doings. Such as, back in March, they had placed an inmate who was suppose to be getting released within a month with another inmate that was in there for life. The inmate who was in there for life warned that if they put anyone in his cell, he would kill them. The prison did it anyway and he did kill the young man.

They also like to purposely take their sweet time in the grievance process. A grievance is when an inmate has an issue, they have to write a statement and turn it in. The inmates have to get a response to that statement and reply within 2 weeks time. The prison purposely does not respond in time for the grievances to reach the next step.

They simply do not care about the people inside those walls. It is just wrong.
Robert is now 22 and getting ready to get out on Parole next year. He is anxious, excited, but nervous too. Life outside those walls has changed so much. He questions being able to get a job to support himself. He wants to do things right, but is afraid that his record will hold him back.
Robert was never a bad person. He made a bad decision and is paying for it. Sometimes, even good people make mistakes.
I know I cannot wait for him to get out. It’s like part of my puzzle is missing without him here. Especially during the holidays, birthday parties, and family get together’s. It feels incomplete without him. Though, I imagine the feeling is much worse from his perspective.
He has come a long way since his arrest. I am proud of how far he has come. We cannot wait to get him home.

-Jenn

“If you’re lost you can look and you will find me. Time after time. If you fall I will catch you, I’ll be waiting, time after time. Time after time. -Cyndi Lauper”

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