October 22, 2008

Dealing With Burdens While Adjusting to Federal Prison

Calling home lately is not as fun as it used to be. Naturally I’m thrilled to speak to my family and friends but news on the home front continues to weaken. I’ve developed a small detachment from the real world, which makes it more difficult to accept unfavorable news. Without any involvement in life’s daily grind, the fluctuating stock market and economic crisis feels like a sitcom where I can watch but with no active participation.

Adding to that frustration are prison rules that prohibit prisoners from discussing business over the telephone. All calls are recorded. Some test this rule but I do not as the repercussions are too great, not to mention that it would be hypocritical to break prison rules while writing about honesty and ethics.

My financial affairs are handled by my family and business partner. Their generosity insures that my assets are protected. They also cover my monthly expenses and commissary expenses at the camp that are at least $400 a month. At times I feel the heavy burden I’ve placed on them.

Unfortunately, from time to time after speaking with my family and friends I return to my cube to reminisce about what I’m missing. I ponder the ways in which I could assist my business partner as he fights through this real estate market. I envision my niece who will be born shortly after the first of the year and that she will be born while her uncle serves time in a prison camp.

Despite the down times, I continue to find the strength and stamina to prepare for my release. I know that the more I prepare, the easier the transition will be. My family has sacrificed so much and I owe it to them to get back on my feet promptly.

Complaining in prison is easy, in part because so little is asked of us. Many sleep all day feelings sorry for themselves. I understand wholeheartedly that people grieve in a myriad of ways. At some point we must embrace the challenges that await us. Through six months, I’ve noticed that inmates who get off to a slow start never get started at all.

Justin Paperny

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