On Resilience: In the criminal system, having your life constrained and restricted, even after your sentence is over, has become a fact of life

Source: inquest.org 10/26/23

Often people will say that when you leave prison you should try to forget it, walk away, and never look back. Fair enough: Anyone would wish to forget the horrors they had endured while in prison. But that’s simply not possible. People walking out the door of prison into the free world are resilient, remarkable beings who have survived the dehumanizing drama of life behind bars and managed to walk out alive. A testimony to the human spirit. But though they are resilient, they never forget the trauma they’ve endured.

Many times throughout the day on this side of the fence, I have to remind myself that I am capable, worthy, and resilient. The system that drives the forces of incarceration is set up to constantly reinforce the message that you are none of those things.

I have had to establish realistic goals for my freedom under the restrictions that the state still holds over me. Thinking too much about what I can’t do was preventing me from doing the things I could do.

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I took special note of this author’s rendition of trying to update, waiting for hours only to be told to come back another time (sometimes outside the statutory timeline). The county I’m in used to be really bad about that as well.

I got around it by demanding to see the watch commander. The first time I did that, the watch commander repeated the “come back Monday” line. I pulled out my phone and told him I needed him to tell me exactly the same thing again on video. Then (and only then) did he reach in his pocket for the skeleton key, go to the registry office and return with the same stupid forms.

As I told him before, I’m not getting hit with FTR just because they’re unwilling or unable to follow the statutes.

This writing is so true and makes me sad and angry. This is the United States of America – doesn’t that mean anything anymore? We should be better than this. The registry and the nation’s acceptance of its dehumanizing restrictions is shameful.