Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Seventy-Six Days Until My Release From Taft Federal Prison Camp

I’ve been thinking a lot about the example I want to set in society upon my release. As a prisoner confined in Taft Camp, I’ve come into contact with many people who lacked the privileges that I took for granted while growing up. Although I never would have thought of their struggles before, since sharing living spaces with them, I’ve broadened my perspective and deepened my understanding of their lives.

The realization in the differences between our lives became clearer to me earlier this week when I was leading a seminar on ethics. Thirty other prisoners were present during the meeting. Many were white-collar offenders like me who had been reared in privileged backgrounds. Others, however, had grown up in the poverty of housing projects that were infested with gangs and criminal lifestyles.

Whereas I had enjoyed many opportunities to thrive and make meaningful contributions to the world, these former gang bangers never had a real chance. They were reared without fathers or stability. Guns and violence were as normal to them as baseball was to me. I felt a heavy sense of shame as I listened to their stories and shared mine. I realized that with my background, society had a right to expect more from me.

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