There is something broken. Cracks in the foundation. A system built upon revolving doors. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world; Iron bars that keep out and encase in. A system that is penalizing and desensitizing its captives not intent on reconstruction individuals. There is something broken. A news article read, “1 out of every 3 black males will go to prison” in bold letters. There is correction that isn’t correcting. A system built on protection, but seems to be more about deflection. When the goal is rehabilitation but increased recidivism of a particular demographic in our society. I want to step in to build people and not prisons.
There are people who are broken and have made choices and decisions that they can never take back. People have found themselves at the end of their ropes and found their lives terribly off track. There are people who have been reduced to the single worst decision that they made in their lifetime. They have looked consequences and repercussions directly in the eye and begged for forgiveness and apologized. People who are simply seeking someone who will forgive them. Seeking somebody to help them find another way toward normality in society. I can help with picking up the pieces. I intend to build people and not prisons.
One person missing from the unit means the entire family is doing time. I did not realize how vital that saying was until I realized the shoe could be on my foot. We scroll and scroll on our social media looking for something that catches our eye. But, this story this particular day caught more than my eye, the story caught my heart. A young girl spoke about how her father was taken away. Captured by a system that will forever have his name. He was taken away from her like a thief in the night. No trace of his existence. He was not there for her eighth birthday. He was not there for her ninth birthday. However, he was there for her tenth birthday birthday. But, her dad was not the same. She wrote about how he was not the same person as before. She said one day her father talked to her about the conditions in which he was held. He spoke about how he felt like an animal. No human being should ever feel like an animal. He was defined by one action. Now, not being able to vote or applying for certain jobs. Every time he check off the box, “ Do you have a criminal record” he is reminded of the one mistake. Ever since I read that article and felt the pain of the young girl bleed through the screen. I vowed to change a system that is not changing. I want to be an advocate for criminals and weld the prison doors shut. Welding those revolving doors closed. To be a person in this world that gives dignity, love, and support to those who need it the most. Helping them get their lives back on track. To stand in the gap and be a voice for the voiceless. We are only one as a community and need to focus on treating all people like they are worthy of a second chance. Because they are. They are capable of learning a new way. They are capable of changing their lives. I believe this wholeheartedly. To bring acknowledgment to what is broken, but also acknowledging that we hold the tools to change the statistics. One person, one family, one community at at time.