I wrote about relationships and how prison can easily destroy them in my last blog. What initially motivated me to write about this subject were a series of discussions I had with some fellow prisoners. All of them were either going through divorce proceedings or anticipating them in the near future. Divorce is a significant additional consequence that follows federal incarceration. I was told that over 75 % of the prisoners who face more than 5 years in prison will divorce. That is a grim statistic. It appears that the marriage vow “for better or worse” has an exception carved out for individuals who make the choice to subject themselves to the criminal justice system? However, it is difficult to blame a spouse for wanting to exit a marriage after their spouse has entered prison. They did not sign up for a partnership where they would be separated from their significant other for many years and be forced to manage a family on their own. That said, many spouses do remain committed despite the obvious hardships imposed on them by the prison sentence, I believe that part of the reason for the high divorce rate is the conduct of the the prisoner. The prisoner is selfish, occupied with his own suffering and He does not see or understand that a prison sentence can impose significant pain and suffering on his loved ones. A prisoner does not have to pay the mortgage, pay the utilities, pay for health insurance, manage the children and worry about sending money to a commissary account for their incarcerated spouse. I have overheard prisoners in the telephone room shouting instructions and trying to control their family members from the confines of prison. Trying to control others from behind the fence simply creates further problems and more animosity in family dynamics. A prisoner needs to realize that He is no longer driving the family car. He has abdicated that responsibility to someone else. Despite this fact, many prisoners keep trying to grab the wheel and shout instructions from the rear seat of the vehicle. This prompts the driver to want to drop them off at the very next corner! No one particularly enjoys a back seat driver, especially one who has already done a poor job driving the family vehicle.

I have realized that my wife is now in charge of our family and that I am lucky to be a part of it. I can offer emotional support to help her and my son through the difficult times that I created.

I am blessed to have such a person driving my family car!

Ken Flaska

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