Letters From Prison: I Just Live Here Now

friendship bracelets with survey

Q: Age
A: 42 years

Q: How long have you been in prison? 
A: Since April 30th, 1997. (19 years)

Q: What is your sentence?
A: Life without parole.

Q: Do you feel your time in prison has benefited you? 
A: Sure, I was out of control, I was unable to function as a part of society. I came to prison and lost my freedom, but found myself. I am free on the inside, the fact that I am in prison means relatively little. I enjoy life, I just live in here now.

Q: Have you made friends on the inside that you will keep after you or they have been released?
A: I am not getting released, and although I’ve had many friends who have gotten out, none have kept in touch more than a letter or two.

Q: Do you have a job? If so, what is it? Wage?
A: Yes. Houseman. Wage = $0. Inmates in Florida do not get paid for working like in  most other states.

I make these friendship bracelets. They tie on and unite easily. The nice, even uniform side goes up. Let me know if you would like more.

Thank you so very much. I am interested to see what happens now.

LFP: The most important person in the world

I received this email yesterday from an inmate in an Ohio prison. (See Tim’s artwork in a post from last November.) It is simply not possible to exaggerate the importance of a letter in prison.

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Melissa, I thank you for your time. I can’t explain how elated I am to have any kind of mail in almost three years now. I don’t count legal mail because it sucks to be blunt. I know that there are many more people other than me you write, but I’ll pretend I’m the most important person in the world because that’s how I feel right now. Generally I only check my email once a week, but that changes today. I am happy to send more art work if you wish. To be honest I haven’t drawn in months, lack of motivation. I look forward to receiving actual written letters as it is easier to read and reread those. Kiosk time is hard to get with 125 other guys in the bloc, got a line behind me so I got to be short. I’ll have to wait till tomorrow to check out the other email, but I once again thank you.

BLESSED BE,

TIM

Kiwanis Club

I was honored to be invited to speak at our local Kiwanis Club about Adopt an Inmate earlier this month. Kiwanis club members stage nearly 150,000 service projects and raise nearly $100 million every year for communities, families and projects.

kiwanis program

Items brought to share with the members, as seen below, included inmate artwork, books written by current and former inmates that we correspond and/or work with, a week’s worth of mail (in the green basket, 243 letters that week), and some handmade crocheted items by inmates in Oregon involved in the Crochet for Community program (more on that in a future blog post).

kiwanis display

We look forward to more opportunities to share our story, and thank the Fern Ridge Kiwanis Club for their invitation.