Cowards and how to make a soufflé...

I have a bitch to pitch. So bear with me or soldier on, matters not to me. I won't be offended...

Here's the thing, I can't email the people I am actually mad at because it would make things so much worse..., but if I don't name names and just spew here, perhaps it will make me feel better? Nes pa?

Most people know that my husband of over four years (four years? Really? How time flies when you are being shunned...) oh yeah, I digress, husband of four years... spent time in prison. A lot of it. Ten years to be exact. He has been out over four years (no I did not meet and/or marry him while he was inside sheesh) with few issues on his parole record aside from forgetting to attend a few appointments (Homer noise *DOH!*) and the alternative health processes of his life-mate. All in all, he has been primarily very successful in his re entry, but not without a very important component. The thing most people lack when they are coming out of their self-imposed exile in the desert as it were, is peer support. A network of family and friends who help stabilize a person during a time in their life when they both need AND desire the most support. People who make it worth-while to put your shoulder to the stone and push it up the hill again until your own happiness and recovery of a meaningful life is enough.

This seems lost on some people. Yeah, I get it, he's a quirky guy and when folks find out that he has been in jail, they find it hard to reconcile his calm, quiet and polite demeanor with what they know he served time for. Just ask him, he will tell you, though he does not enjoy dwelling on the past bad acts and he feels it is disrespectful of the people who were injured, he does not hide the truth from any who seek to endure it's influence as it passes through.

All this being said...

I WOULD REALLY LIKE IT IF PEOPLE WOULD STOP CALLING HIS PAROLE OFFICER!

STOP IT, STOP IT, STOP IT!

My husband now works as the project coordinator for a criminal justice transformation project funded by a three year grant. So what that means is, he spends sixty hours working in a week and gets paid for twenty. All because he desperately believes that all people with a criminal justice background in the state of Alaska deserve to find the same success he has found in his re-entry through peer support and peer run agencies all over the state.

WHY IS THIS SO ANNOYING TO SOME PEOPLE? I have no idea.

There's some seriously nasty folk claiming altruistic intentions who work in the criminal justice side of rehabilitation that are just plain project ruining assholes and I am for one wish I was more shocked at the cowardice of calling his parole officer for weird and stupid reasons...like to ask if maybe John shouldn't be allowed to commute to anchorage, 98 miles does seem a bit far... doesn't it? No? Well... why is it then that he is not filling out a travel pass every week? Something he had addressed and then reached a mutually satisfying process of accommodations with his parole officer. Even though it's a pointless exercise in a red tape clogged bureaucratic process of a laughable level of incompetence and it can cause his job to jeopardized... And not just jeopardized in the sense that he can get fired for not being able to fulfill the anchorage office work availability he promised in his contract, but the project itself. by creating unrealistic expectations, political hurdles (as if there weren't enough already) and road blocks just because they think its wrong for a felon like him to have any position of influence in their world. So we will punish the non-profit that employed him in this position by playing hide and seek with their grant money, or we'll abuse our authority to try and force the non-profit to fire him on a whim. Even judges are not immune to petty bull it would seem.

To those of you who keep calling his parole officer, I hope you are proud. You have (not-so-stealthily as you might think) attacked someone who is trying to assist in healing a very real rift in our community. One who has enough of an insiders knowledge (pardon the pun) that it might actually be successful! God forbid... You would have succeeded in getting another "dangerous" felon off the street and back into prison regardless of his good behavior and obvious commitment to change with your cowardly and libelous rumors/attacks if it weren't for the support his peers and family provide him with.

Escaping the prison of mental or behavioral illness and a history of criminal behavior forever and the duration cannot be done if every time those men and women start to get their heads above water you begin hysterically clawing at their eyes while weighing them down with endless reams of paperwork that are a foolish waste. And rules that exist vestigially at best and at worst, create, cultivate and perpetuate the loopholes through which a felon can be violated repeatedly and dragged back into the pit regardless of his own acts and intent..

I would really really like it if when someone has served their time they were actually done and reinstated as a citizen. All the way. Because if you think prison ends when you walk out the door you are wrong. A different prison exists that is almost too cruel to bear. It has invisible but just as oppressive bars that stymie any chance to ever be treated like a human again. It steals away your constitutional rights and makes you forever locked in a position most comfortable for the system to violate you in. Whenever and however they want. And even at the end of this year when my husband is off parole, they will still be lurking and limiting and telling him by their actions and intimations that he will never be a real boy. Why can't they be honest and simply admit it openly?

We have to reorient our thinking towards people like my husband. They are real people! Some are sick, or broken, confused and twisted viscerally by trauma, pickled and fried on substances, damaged and lost inside of a world they would not have chosen for themselves if they truly knew at the time they had a choice coupled with a clear understanding of what anti-social behavior does to your life force and the people you could have loved instead.

Mean people suck. But I guess I have to remember that for most, "there but for the grace of god go I" is cliche only because it is a true statement. Analyzed by the wrong microscope, there is not a one of us whose life shines free of any stain or blemish.

So I forgive you. But I do it begrudgingly. May-hap God(dess) will provide me with the intent necessary because I won't be able to do it on my own.
          
          my sweet husband and our eldest

Comments

  1. 'but for the grace of god(dess) - go I' has saved me more then once in my life of ponderings, and paths.... I remember the words said by some... quietly, and not so quietly... when he finally re-entered your life... and you all started making a path of your own....

    I send you, your family, and especially your man my light, my love and my blessings...

    :)

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