Kenneth, 30

Kenneth, 30

Meet Kenneth…

My heart hymned with sorry, like the crying of a dove. At thirty, the probability of having a wife and child was razor-thin, like the fencing around my home.

Incarcerated:15 years

Housed: Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, Carlisle, Indiana

They drove me to the hospital. It was the first time I left my cell in over a decade. It had been so long I forgot how lengthy the driveway was. But more surprising was the melody of the pebbles underneath the vehicle. I was unaware if this would be the last drive I would ever experience.As we drove away from home and entered into the countryside, I saw all types of grass, wild flowers, and oak trees. I saw a tamed dog and some wild turkeys. They were enjoying the beaming sun. I wish I could have said please stop driving!

Let me out of this vehicle. I want to know and feel the emerald grass in my hands. 

Please stop and empower me with the ability to bow before the flowers, so I may gently place a flower stem in my hand, my nose next to its petals, and smell the liberating aromas. 

Please stop this vehicle and grant me the right to feel the sturdiness of an oak tree and look up at this blue sky. Let me feel the juxtaposition of being wild in the freedom of choice, yet still tamed. I knew I had to be confined to this vehicle. This was my plight.

I saw women and men walking with their children, cheerfully enjoying the sunny day. My heart hymned with sorry, like the crying of a dove. At thirty, the probability of having a wife and child was razor-thin, like the fencing around my home. My heart felt like a black hole with the dying of my wish to one day look upon the starry eyes of a wife and child. With the speed of a comet, we arrived at our destination: the hospital. Once inside I felt the stares of people. They look at me as if I was a caged ape at a zoo. Some people starred with revulsions, others with empathy, they must have seen my humanness. I wonder if they too had regrets and wishes.

They then drove me back home with what felt like the speed of a cheetah. The pebbles, however, sung no melodies. The melody was silenced. I looked at the chains placed around my hands and feet. I looked at the prison issued clothes placed on my body. I looked at the reflection on the window. I was quasi-alive at my home—a maximum-security prison.

Michael, 27

Meet Michael…

Trotter is a good friend, a mentor, a comrade and a father figure. I without a doubt credit Trotter with helping me develop into the man I am today.

Incarcerated: 8
Housed: Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, Carlisle, Indiana.

Upon stepping off the bus under lock and key in an Indiana maximum security prison, I still had a glimmer of light in my eyes of what I thought this system was. I had hoped that once settled there would be a plan to get in school, take programs, and the ability to come up with a success plan. Not even close, instead I ended up in an idol concrete jungle known as Wabash Valley. Where you talk to no counselors in any meaningful way, if you even get to see one. It was the old school cats telling me, youngsta – you need to get in school and take this program, this is how you sign up and this is how you get stuff done. These initial encounters are where I first met Christopher Trotter, he’s had the biggest impact on me. He has done everything in his power to help me succeed in school, to law work, even helping me stay sucka’ free. He is continually feeding me knowledge, wisdom, and perspective. Trotter is a good friend, a mentor, a comrade and a father figure. I without a doubt credit Trotter with helping me develop into the man I am today. Because of him, I have gotten my GED, completed numerous programs and helped the mentally ill and suicidal. I am seeking redemption and restoration, while trying to be a father without having a father. I was looking for a light in the darkness, only to find out that I had that light in me. I am strong, I am Broken, I am Human!

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