Skip to main content

I am currently 4.5 years into a 22-year sentence for murder. Sadly, this lone fact has come to represent my identity to society at large and a stigma I shall likely wear until my own demise. I want to avoid that being my legacy, but it is a reality. I took an innocent life and severely ruined the lives of those intertwined with them. The guilt will forever haunt my soul, and a portion of my heart is now irrevocably broken.

My story is not unique; it is possibly even a standard tale of loss in all the forms it can manifest within these walls—loss of freedom, comfort, luxury, and love. Sometimes, all I have left to live is the final few chapters of a book that no one has bothered to continue reading. Ironically, as you feature in every national newspaper, and your name and face are plastered over each TV news bulletin, your personality and any opportunity for public expression are being stripped from you. Strangers begin writing the only real remaining narrative of their existence.

The only word I ever uttered in court has come to define me. “Guilty.” I have become tarnished in a world of black and white, wrong and right—a bad egg. I don’t know if any direction or positive behaviour going forward could help to atone for my actions that day. Still, it would be foolish not to explore anything that might rebalance the scales toward righteousness. The anonymity of incarceration feels at times like a cloak of invisibility has been thrown over you.

I don’t know if there is any direction or positive behaviour going forward that could help to atone for my actions that day, but I think it would be foolish to not explore anything that might rebalance the scales towards righteousness.

I am thankful for the efforts of those like yourselves and the newsletter, Paper Chained, who seek to give us a voice that can escape through the cracks in the walls and past the razor wire. Without the possibility of redemption, with no capacity for change, comes the allure of nihilism and defeatism. If our flaws and mistakes forever define our societal role, how can we even consider reintegration? Given the circumstances, we are human, as capable of error as any other. As with anyone, we have needs and desires, though we are often denied both.

Should I ever walk free, the level of appreciation I have for the basics of life itself will surely be immeasurable. “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.” All I hope for in the future is relative stability and a personal support network of friends in place of a defined biological family. There is still love and care in my heart for others, and I hope to find some kind. Thanks for reading and giving other prisoners an outlet.

Leave a Reply

Receive more inspiring stories and news from incarcerated people around the world.