From the ferry: 4/1/09

Posted: April 3, 2009 in from the ferry, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

My commute to and from the prison includes a twenty minute ferry crossing plus however long I get to sit in line to wait to board. It’s a good time to reflect on the night at Monroe, to record first impressions and document those moments that are resonating with me the most before I have a chance to filter them or make them academic. I’ll post these thoughts from the ferry each time I go to Monroe.

On Monday one of our group members will be released. So, tonight we said goodbye. It’s an interesting experience to goodbye in prison. To say, “we’ll miss you”, doesn’t seem quite right, even though it’s true. It’s not the same as saying goodbye to a coworker or a family member. You want the guys who deserve their release to be released, and yet in their release there is a loss, which you do not necessarily want to express as you do not want to come across as completely selfish. We are talking about getting out of prison. There should be no wish for a man who has served his time to stay soley for my sake. Soley so I don’t have to say goodbye.

You want to be excited for him, for the opportunities before him. You are nervous for him. Survival on the outside is tough, to say the least, for these guys. I realize I’ll miss him. This particular guy has been a great group member. He’s a good writer. He’s smart and funny and the other guys in the group respect him. It’ll be a different group without him.

Nonetheless, we all said our goodbyes. Several of the guys reminded him of what they’ve learned in our group. That one attribute of a hero is that a hero never gives up. A hero stays focused and keeps pushing. That’s what the group members reminded this man to do — never give up.

I had to wonder as well about the impact a release has on the guys who are staying behind. In his release, they see their own release date, no matter how far away it is. And, it must be hard to be left behind.

I realize that I won’t miss every guy who leaves our group. I probably won’t even feel good about some guys being released at all. But in this case, with this man, I will miss him. And I wish him the best. The possibility is high, I think, that he’ll make it on the outside. That won’t be the case for most. Here’s to hoping there’s such a thing as second chances. He deserves one.

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