Saturday, February 28, 2009

Eighty Days Until My Release From Taft Federal Prison Camp

Wow! Tomorrow morning when I wake we will have crossed into the month of March. March will bring the beginning of spring season, the season of my release. Temperatures have warmed to the 70s already. I’m feeling closer to the joy of returning to my family and community.

I will not transfer directly from prison to home. On May 20th I will release to a halfway house. I don’t really know the details of a halfway house, but I know I will have a lot more freedom that I have now. I may serve a few days inside the house, but after a week or so, I understand that I will have a work pass that will allow me to spend 10 or 12 or 16 hours in the community on the job. I’ll have more access to the telephone, perhaps even to the Internet and email.It’s starting to feel real.

Even other prisoners are reminding me of my imminent release. Some are asking whether I will be leaving my running shoes, sweats, radio, and other belongings with anyone. They are making offers, trying to put themselves in line for any handouts that I may leave behind. I tell them it’s all going. I don’t want to bring anything from prison into the free world other than the lessons I’ve learned.

Once I conclude my term at the halfway house, I will settle in with my mom for a few months. I must complete the requirements of a three-year supervised release period, though I don’t anticipate any problems. While on supervised release, I must fulfill the expectations of a probation officer. I don’t know what those expectations will entail, but I know I will comply with whatever my probation officer requires. I will never place my freedom in jeopardy again.

So as the month of February comes to an end, I feel the fetters of confinement breaking lose. My life inside will not change. I will continue to wake early, to read, to write, to prepare for the challenges ahead. I still must comply with the rules and I will look forward to Friday visits. Yesterday my friend Sam drove up to visit, and as we embraced, I knew that the next time I saw him would be at my coming home party. I woke this morning feeling closer to freedom than at any time since I walked into the gates of Taft Camp. It wouldn’t be much longer until I walked out.

Tomorrow wouldn’t only be the first day of March. I’d also move into the 70s of days remaining to serve. The last 10 weeks. The final countdown. I would serve it with dignity, and more optimism, that I know how to describe.

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