I had a visit with a friend that is incarcerated today. She is a gal I mentor with the Job Start program through the Raleigh Correctional Center for Women. My friend will soon be transitioning out of the Raleigh Correctional Center back into society. I enjoy my weekly visits with her and every time I come home I realize I am really the one who is learning and gaining so much. You might say my eyes are being opened to another view of life, life through the eyes of a prisoner.
What does this life look like? What would it be like to never go to the rest room without permission? I can’t imagine! A simple thing like a bathroom visit requires permission. What would it be like to take a shower with eight other people? No privacy there that’s for sure! What would it be like to go to bed at night with 36 other people in your room? The pajama party would get old after the first night. You are not even alone when you sleep. In fact, you are never alone. You can’t even go somewhere to be alone with your thoughts. You are constantly surrounded by people and noise. There really is no place to run or hide.
When you are incarcerated, things you so easily took for granted, become very valuable and dear. You realize that every piece of mail, every phone call is priceless. Even a newspaper is a treasured item. If you are lucky you may get to see one article from a Sunday paper that has been dismantled by over 100 women. Makes job prospecting for a job before release very interesting!
As my friend relates, when you are incarcerated, you simply learn not to take anything for granted! Lessons learned during this time are forever entrenched in your soul and written on your heart. My friend relates that she used to think that prisoners were so bad off. Never did she realize that her mistake would land her in prison. The truth is many people are one step away from prison and don’t realize it. It could happen to anybody. Many people break the law everyday- the speed limit being the greatest example. When you are incarcerated you realize that whatever stigmas or stereotyping you have of prisoners or people in general changes. “Now I realize that there are people on the outside that are worse off than me. At least I have a place to sleep and a roof over my head. There are people on the outside that may not be prison but are imprisoned in their minds.”
When you think about it, maybe we all could use another perspective about life- another view. I guess the point I am making here is that I am truly grateful to my friend for the new perspective she has given me of another view of life.
— Janet Daughtry