Second Chances: Sarah
I’m having an emotional night. And what better time to write then huh? Tonight I finished up some filming for a driver education program I have been helping with. The filming is being done at PNN which is Prison News Network at Marion prison. It is run by inmates. Most of them have very long, if not life sentences. Most have also already served quite a bit of time. From the moment I did my first filming session I felt very comfortable working with the inmates. They were all very respectful and professional. I treated them just like any other person and you could tell they immediately appreciated that. You can also tell this group of guys are extremly close and dedicated to their work. They tend to stay away from the rest of the prison and spend as many hours working as they can. They all have different jobs, most of them have learned or taught themselves a skill….such as editing, graphics, voiceovers etc. I was very impressed by the whole system. I had no idea anything like this even existed within a prison. Before my brother went to prison, in all honesty I didn’t think twice about prisons or the people in it. I didn’t care and just assumed most belonged there. My eyes have obviously been forced open. The more I see and get to know, the more shocked I am at how naive I was. Tonight, I was actually sad leaving this group of guys that I have worked with the past few months. I will miss talking with them, getting to know them. The real truth is, I will probably never see any of them again. But one sticks out. He has done bad things. He has a life sentence. When I first met him I didn’t know that so I never judged him. He is now in his sixties and been in prison over half his life. He is also sick. Very sick and will most likely die in prison. Over this time I have come to know him and genuinely like him. We joke and give each other “crap”. We surprisngly have similar sarcastic personalities but live in two completely different worlds. Tonight when I saw him I knew he wasn’t doing very well. Later I heard he probably doesn’t have long left. As I was leaving he said goodbye and thanked me for being his friend. I don’t know what he “deserves” in this life, I don’t know what is fair “punishment” for his crimes and I am glad I don’t have to be the judge of that. I am thankful I met him as he changed my mind. I struggle with the things he has done many years ago, but my sister commented that it’s okay to focus on the good parts of people. I do believe in second chances, I believe people change. If we don’t believe than what is the point? What is the point of prisons, rehabs, programs, etc. No matter how long he has been in prison and what he has done to better himself, most likely he will be remembered for the crimes he committed. I worry about that fate for my brother as well. We have to give those who have done wrong a second chance. We have to forgive the past and allow them to become a new person, a better person.