Family & Friend Support Pt 2-Joseph

Dear Readers,

The one thing many prisoners yearn for is support from family and friends. When many of us came to prison, we were forced to be alone. And for many of us that unknown experience is scary. Support in most cases is given in the beginning of our sentence but as the days and years pass things begin to change. Life continues to go on without us. Its a cliché quote that says, ” Out of sight, Out of mind” and sadly it plays its way out in our daily lives as the days and years pass. Its not that they love us less or they don’t care but life doesn’t stop for them and unfortunately were no longer present.

Nothing about prison is normal or humane. Prison is a abnormal environment. This is why support is truly needed. Family keeps a prisoner engaged with reality. Family reminds us that we are human beings that have emotions and feelings. Support is giving help and encouragement. 

Prison places a enormous hardship on the mental mindset. Its a daily struggle remaining normal in a abnormal environment. Some have the mindset of not changing and they accept the negative trajectory of their life.

For those who do seek change and accept that this is a positive trajectory to a new life. They now are seen as the abnormal individuals in this environment where the criminal mentality is deemed normal. So we seek the support of positive people to keep us focus and motivated in are journey of being productive citizens.

The support from family and friends is very essential to our mental growth and change. We need to be encouraged with positive words of hope and change. We need to know we are loved, missed and needed. This comes by way of letters and phone calls. Simple jpays that say I love you and stay focus go along way. A lot of men don’t like to write other men however understand that its needed. Men need to seek counsel from other men. Steel sharpens steel. Men that will hold us accountable to take our rightful place in this world as productive men. 

When many prisoners got incarcerated a lot of family members were young so bonds and relationships were unable to be developed. Now as they come of age into adulthood, they have no idea who we are but we have no idea who they have grown to be. I’m embarking on a journey to learn my family as we speak. When I left they were baby’s and teens now there mothers and business women. Who have no idea who I am as a man today. They only know what is told to them and somebody else’s perspective of you is subjective or bias. Especially if they haven’t had any contact with you to see your growth and evolution. I would like my family to get to know the man I am today because Im no longer the man I was 13 years ago. When I am released I will need their support more then ever. The parole board wants to know that prisoners being let back into the communities have some form of a support system.

Prison is designed to destroy family ties by way of systematically employing many tactics to discourage healthy and consistent relationships. For example, you may be from Detroit but instead of housing you within reasonable driving distance they house you up north 5 to 8 hours away. Knowing that this will discourage your family from visiting. They make the application process to visit complicated by denying applicants because they failed to put N/A in places that don’t apply to them. Making them fill the whole application out again only to deny them again for something trivial. These tactics are meant to discourage families from visiting. It has happen to me numerous times so I speak from experience. Physical interaction is another very important aspect of support. 

Friendships come in many ways. We cherish them because a true friend is hard to find. Everyone wants to be your friend when your doing good and on top but your TRUE friends will be by your side when your at your lowest.

The voice and message I’m sending out is this, if you have someone in your family or if you have a friend incarcerated reach out to them. Your support is truly needed. A simple, “How you doing” and Keep your head up goes a long way. Remind them they are human beings because this system is designed to dehumanize them. Its not all about money and food packages. We need to know somebody cares. Despite the mistakes we have made we still are human. If you truly love them know they need your help as they change. No one makes it to the top alone.

I thank you for reading my post. Please leave a comment and continue to visit for more thoughts beyond the wall.

Joseph Green

Family & Friend Support-Jerome Walker

My name is Jerome Walker, but most people call me Don’Jay or DJ for short.

I am here to talk about how essential it is to having family & friends support while being in prison.

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During my first 5 years in prison, I had little to no family support due to the crime I committed, or from their misconception on what had took place.

By not having any support, I let it dictate the way I did my time. I was considered what most called a hard ass. I didn’t listen and came in as if I had a chip on my shoulder. I began to lash out as I was catching unnecessary tickets and constantly getting in trouble and going to the hole. To me, it was like without family being by myside, I began to contemplate was life really worth living?

The saddest thing is when I got locked up, my daughter was only 8 days old. I didn’t have the support of her mother, nor did I had the support of my family.

I only could hear through new prisoners coming in telling me how such & such died, and how my daughter’s mother is out there struggling.

There was barley any pictures coming in, any money to buy the necessities.
A lot of people had to rob and steal because they were unable to have that family support that all people in prison needs.

5 years into my time, one close member in our family died from cancer. The family came together and reached out to me and decided that life was too short to harbor unwanted feelings.

I was reached out by many family members and friends.

Having family and friends write to you and tell you to keep your head up, and we are in this with you made everything felt like there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

I instantly changed my behavior. I put away my childish ways and became a man. I managed to get my GED, some certificates in Culinary arts, Custodial maintenance and many others. I started to interact with family more, and my dark days seems to have light in them.

Family support is so essential for us on lock down, because without it, it seems like we are fighting the world alone. Sometimes we become depressed and want to give up on life. It’s like, if they don’t care, why should I?

My happiest moment is when I had help from family and friends in finding my daughter 3 years ago. We have built an unbreakable relationship, and she is part of my support system.

My biggest support system now is my mother, sisters, daughter, uncles, father, cousin, and many of friends. There’s light at the end of my tunnel as I strived to be a better person for my family, myself, and friends.

I have a petition going towards my release in accordance to the change of law dealing with juvenile lifers, please go to my facebook page at Jerome Jay Walker click on the link and signed the petition I have on there. If you don’t see it, please send a friend request and I will accept you as a friend, you will then see the link and be able to sign it, and please, share it with your friends. Thank you for signing.

Sincerely,

Jerome Walker #277651

Naeem Nusaga

Naeem Nusaga shared his thoughts with Joseph and I surrounding his own conviction and how he identifies with “Writing my Wrongs” written by Shaka Senghor.

Naeem

ABOUT MY CONVICTION: 

At age 19, my best friend Henry Dillard and I were both wrongly convicted of second degree murder and other lesser offenses in the County of Saginaw, MI. Ironically, there was NO PHYSICAL EVIDENCE that directly linked us to these two crimes, nor, did any of the various identifiable prints collected from both crime scenes matched any of ours who were alleged involved. After four friends were identified and arrested, investigative officers pressured and coached two of them to lie against their childhood friends; in order to save themselves from a possible life sentence. These two alleged eyewitnesses, Christopher and Rodgers, have since confessed in sworn affidavits to this unmitigated truth.

Moreover, I look forward to sharing with you “my true story” and the intriguing dynamics behind how two investigative officers were manipulated and bamboozled when they sought out information about an actual crime(s) from a notorious drug informant named, Robert ‘Bryant’ Wilbert, who diverted their entire investigation and spun a cogent tale so intricate, you’d thought it was professionally written and produced on a movie set in Hollywood; except, this was no hollywood script…this was MY LIFE!

MORE ABOUT NAEEM: 

During 26 consecutive years of a wrongful imprisonment, I’ve maintained an excellent institutional record as a model prisoner and only incurred one (1) major ticket for being inside the gymnasium unauthorized. I’ve opted early on to use my time constructively to become better, not bitter. I refused to be your average prisoner. I acquired a High School Equivalence Certificate, Tech Math, Custodial Maintenance, Introduction to Computers, Mentored the Youth, employed at MSI Laundry for seven (7) consecutive years, and even penned four (4) books; including “The Girl In The Mirror” that I dedicated to both my lovely nieces, Core’Ana and Core’Asia Davis, with the hopes of inspiring all teenage girls to live about negative influence and identify with the beauty within. My third book “Confronting The Hood Mentality” (although COMPLETED, not yet published) is directly aimed towards helping young black American youth in the inner city to avoid cultural pitfalls, peer pressure, and to boldly lead a purpose-driven life.
Today, I am a man of great faith, insight, integrity, and committed to using the rest of my life making a positive impact in the lives of others. Granted, prison doesn’t have the most favorable conditions live in, but it does however have the most favorable conditions to GROW IN, that is, if you expend your time constructively. With maturity, I’ve now gained a new perspective on life and is all for healing, not hurting my community. Upon my release, I aspire to engage in public speaking, book tours, support prison reform, and work with at-risk youth.

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My synopsis of the memoir: “Writing My Wrongs” by author Shaka Senghor

When I first opened and began reading from the pages of the memoir ‘Writing My Wrongs,’ I was quickly captivated by the life journey of James White, Sr. who had later intellectually evolved into the man now known simply as Shaka. Like a tiny, fluttery butterfly that’s admired for its beautiful wings, he too had to undergo a mental and spiritual metamorphosis of his own inside an American prison.
Unfortunately, no gun has ever been manufactured with a ‘rewind button’, meaning once you squeeze the trigger and the projectile exit the metal barrel of the gun at a high velocity, there’s no taking it back! You then have to live with the consequences of your actions, and by living with them, what I mean is you have to make atonement for your actions by understanding the damage in which you’ve caused. While serving 7 years in solitary confinement, Shaka began atoning for his transgressions and misdeeds, while confronting the hurt, pain, and unforgiveness from his past. Before long, the journey of redemption, forgiveness, and enlightenment prompted him to write a poignant letter to his victim. 

On page 4, he openly writes: 

“Today, when I look back, I wish I could change the past. I wish I could restore your life so that your children could have known the safety and security of having their father in the house. I wish I could bring you back to life so that your wife could enjoy the presence of her husband and your parents could see you reaching your dreams.”

The acronym for L.I.F.E. is Lessons Improves Future Experiences! Often times, we have to go through something in order to become something. We must learn from our past experiences and commit to do better in the now experiences, in order to improve our future experiences. As human beings (or God’s children), we’re all subject to make mistakes, but the biggest mistake of all is NOT learning from them. Against all odds, Shaka chose to learn from them by turning to deep introspection. He then was able to RIGHT his wrongs by “Writing His Wrongs”, then followed them with corresponding actions that gives us all hope for change. Yes, making a change for the better can be hard and difficult, but it is possible, especially if you lean on God’s broad shoulders as a source of guidance and strength. As no man is given a cross too heavy to bear!!