Prison Banquet

This post won’t be too long because my eyes are crossing and my body is screaming in pain right now. Especially my right knee. But it was a good day and it was well worth all the pain.

I left my house with my friends by 8:15 this morning. We arrived at Rockview State Prison by 11:15. Today was a special day. Once a year there is a banquet for the “New Breeds Society”. Only 15% of the men inmates are allowed to participate and they must have good behavior all year and participate in fund-raisers that help the community to be able to participate in the banquet. The banquet is a special day for many reasons. The top one is to be able to sit at a table and enjoy a meal with your loved ones.

I know a lot of people have very pre-conceived notions about inmates and prisons. I’m here to tell you these inmates are not enjoying life in a country club. Yes, I understand they did their crime and must do their time, but it is not a nice place to be. But I will say these men and the men I used to teach anger management to treat me with more respect than any of the men I’ve dated EVER!

Ok, I’m off my soapbox for now. What made the day even better was my friend, Michael got a “Man of the Year Award” today for going above and beyond and being a good example. I’m very proud of him and how well he’s adjusted to the difficult life he’s living.

The banquet today had all kinds of great food that the inmates never get the rest of the year. Things we take for granted. Things like shrimp, steak, French fries, cheesesticks, and desserts. It was such a nice day. I always feel honored to be invited. The inmates are only allowed three guests so his mom and dad are a given. I always feel bad because there’s always a table of inmates that don’t have any family there for them. I often wonder what their story is. So many times the family, friends, and loved ones just abandon the inmates.

I had a conversation with the inmate that took our pictures to remember the day and we were talking about how things in our world change so gradually and we don’t think to mention them to the ones locked up and when they get out after 10 years the world is so different and overwhelming. He mentioned being taken to a court date and seeing everyone on the street with cell phones plastered to their face or in their hands and then noticed there were no pay phones anymore. A little thing to us that happened gradually but to an inmate being released it’s another thing they need to adjust to along with so many other.

I arrived home at 6:45 this evening after a long car ride and a nice afternoon with my friends.

Today I’m grateful for:

1. I am free.

2. I had a nice visit with my friends.

3. It was great to see Michael doing so well.

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