One February night in 2009, our phone rang. It was two in the morning. My 95-year-old mother was on the line. She told me she was having chest pains, thought she was having a heart attack, and had already called 911. Since she lived less than a mile away, my immediate response should have been to rush to her side. Instead, I dialed the 1-800 number anyone on parole on an electronic monitoring device is required to call.
The operator picked up after 15 minutes and told me I needed the permission of my parole agent to leave the house. I knew he wouldn’t be available—it was 2:00 AM, after all—so I faced a difficult choice: go to the hospital and risk getting sent back to prison, or follow the rules and risk my mother passing away without me, after I had already been absent from her life for the six and a half years I was in prison. Fortunately, I had a partner who could go quickly to the hospital. Fortunately, my mother survived. Full Article