Letters from Confinement Part 4

As I walk among the 600 federal inmates (people), I have a lot to pray about! Continuous stories of people making the wrong decisions at the worst time of their lives. Time means years! I’ve met people that have already completed, 26, 24, 23 and on down to just ready for a half-way house. On the opposite way at looking at time, I met people just coming into the Federal System with the same amount of years. Their wives, children, family and friends are facing the same amount of anguish. I’m hoping to tell some true stories, not written by myself, but by anonymous people facing re-entry into society and then an anguished people entering the prison system.

For myself, today is the day the Lord has Made and I’ll be glad in it…

I find myself walking around the large oval (top view) perimeter. Two and a half times around this track= a mile. The most, I walked, when I first arrived here was 20 laps. I didnt have tennis shoes at the time, just black prison boots, 3 sizes wider than normal that. I’m used to wearing. After five days in these boots, my feet in different parts blistered. Only when visiting the handball courts that’s inside the track area.

I was a handball player at one time in my early life. I approach these people playing and they ask me to play. I said Id try. I went out on the court and brought my game. When they saw I could play, the very next game a pair of 9 size tennis shoes appeared. I bought them for $10. which saved my feet. A month later, I still have them, but my right shoulder and right knee throb at night until I take some Alive or Ibuprofen pain relievers before I can sleep. I’m backing off my handball and walking for a while, but at least no more blisters.

I have a job, it’s not much or could I call it a job. I eat breakfast at 6am in the morning. Monday-Thursday-Friday. After breakfast I walk and talk with people till 740am. Oh, I have to make my bed first! Then walk and talk. At 740am, I report to Rec Officer knock on the door, he waves me in and I say, “Chantel checking in,” he says, “ok.” Then I walk away to continue my day. There’s something missing! My work consists of walking, talking, reading books, writing letters, going to eat at the dining hall, going to the laundry, library, getting a hair cut and sometime in the future, I’ll get a visit. I only have to do 2/3 of my 3 months left, because 1/3 of my time is sleeping. I’m not trying to make this prison system tiem seem easy, because its “not”. The hardest part of my work is not being with my dog Little Bear, the Americus Mennonite Fellowship Church, my Forest Green House I live in , my neighbors next door and up the road, a great Christian Community called “Koinonia Farm”, A great town called Americus, GA, the birth place of Habitat for Humanity, The Fuller Center for Housing, many great land marks, and especially Jimmy Carters boyhood high school where the fun only begins… in Plains, GA


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