Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Stories from Sisk: A Life in Prison


There is a guy in here named Frank. I won't say what he did, but he's in here for life.
 
He's pretty old, and has already survived several heart attacks. He was almost given up on with the last one, but one of the nurses on this yard kept helping him when everyone else was ready to declare him dead. He actually did "die." His heart stopped, but they got it going again.
 
Frank has spent most of his life in prison, but that did not stop him from getting married. He has a prison penpal. They fell in love over letters. She would visit him. They finally tied the knot ... and had been together for 37 years, until her death.
 
Burglars broke into her home while she was still there. They beat her, broke her legs. She survived the encounter, but shortly there after she died from an infection related to the injuries suffered in that attack.
 
That was five years ago. Aside from the letter from her son telling him of her passing, he has not received another letter from another soul ever since. He hasn't sought another penpal.
 
Her kids hated Frank. They blamed him for their mother throwing her chance at love and a normal life away by marrying a man who would live the rest of his natural life in prison. She snapped back, though. She said it was her life, she loved him, she married him, and that was that.
 
-----
 
I run into that guy nearly every day while picking up my meds. Some days he's in a wheelchair, other days he's got enough fight in him to make his way around with a cane.
 
I think about his story, and the stories of so many others on the yard. There are some I know that I'm like, yeah, they were right to send you here. Others are down to bad, dumb decisions. It doesn't excuse them, of course, but I have a lot of respect for the guys who own their crime, and try to better themselves.
 
But some need extra help, and that is what I spend most of my waking moments doing: counseling, advising, support.
 
Many of these guys are all but forgotten, so someone has to. They're people too, and they all have stories.


--Farrah B.

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