Matt’s Story

Moving Forward: Matthew

ODYS (Ohio Department of Youth Services) aka juvi sent a couple of people to check out the OASIS program here at Pickaway Correctional to get a general idea of how we operate and if they can incorporate what we do into their program. The program director here picked a few of us to represent the program and answer any questions that they had and anything like that. I’ve been on a few panels like this before for officials from other corrections facilities and I really am glad to be able to offer up anything I can to help others who are struggling. But it’s been extremely difficult lately to go on acting like I am doing well and to act like a ‘role model’ to people like these prison officials and the people who write and support me. The truth is that I am feeling so many negative emotions that I feel as if I’m going to burst at the seams, I’ve felt this way before and the last time I got so drunk and after a night out, drinking and doing stupid things was my way out,  I wanted so badly to feel something else. So there it is, no hiding it anymore. I used to be afraid of what people would think of me , but there’s no shortage on things that people can judge me for these days, I know who I am now. What I meant to talk about was how I feel so angry, and with every day in here I get sicker and sicker. With each holiday or birthday that passes, with each person that I lose, it gets harder to be in here, not easier like I had originally thought. It’s like the longer I’m doing positive things and staying sober and trying to be a good person, the more appealing it looks to go back to what I was. I chose to never deal with anything and now I remember why, feelings can be good, but they can hurt too. This little voice is constantly asking me, “why are we suffering unnecessarily, we could be feeling nothing right now, we could be passing these years by without remembering a goddamn thing, this very feeling is why we chose not to participate in this world.” …….But then I remember, and I dig deep, and I clench my teeth, and I keep moving forward, because I promised.- Matthew Cordle


  1. Gloria Kelly - December 28, 2014 10:50 pm

    Hi Matthew,
    It isn’t easy for anyone in prison, especially at Christmas time, or other family occasions. All you can do is take it one day at a time. It’s all part of your journey towards acceptance and forgiveness. You will get through this xoxo

  2. dave - December 28, 2014 11:37 pm

    Matt called me earlier today. I could tell something was bothering him , though he never talked about this. We talked about sports, family, the holidays and just general stuff. Matt has always been a tough sensitive kid who hid his feelings well. Unfortunately he didn’t handle some issues in his childhood as well as his siblings did. He internalized his feelings instead of dealing with them. Im reluctant to generalize but he is surrounded by men different than him. He is trying to make amends. To do the best he can to make things right. Please remember not all prisoners are convicts.

  3. Nina - December 30, 2014 12:49 pm

    Matthew and family, We all expect so much of him. I wonder if it can add a burden to his time in prison. I can imagine time in prison is lacking in a shared reality with others that we all need to survive and thrive. His promise to take full, honest responsibility is a cross to bear, and I know for myself I can focus so much on the positive of what he has chosen that I ignore the tremendous pain and suffering for him and his family. I know that little voice that says “why take the road less traveled….?” It is very powerful and seductive. Not easy to stand up to it and, I can only imagine, particularly not in prison. I wish Matthew and his family all the very best through this enormously difficult and painful journey, Nina

  4. Stephanie - March 17, 2016 12:50 am

    Matt- feelings suck as I’ve told you before. But they serve as the first step that we are getting better. We are faced with feelings in which we haven’t dealt with since very young ages. We are okay with that, not having feelings. A change in that is uncomfortable, but beyond what you have promised Vincent, it is important to take this time to make a promise to yourself in getting real. Letting the real you show, which I know you can’t incarcerated, but it is something you and God can always talk about and he WILL keep you safe. Until you believe that, I will continue to pray for you for the sole selfish reason that in you, I can see myself more than ever. You are so strong and Iknow words mean nothing to our self-talk, but one day that self-talk can and will be changed and you will love yourself, that is my promise to you.


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