Monday, March 16, 2009
Sixty-Four Days Until My Release From Taft Federal Prison Camp
I’m excited about meeting Mike today. He is a prisoner who is scheduled to self-surrender to Taft Camp. Over the past several months, Mike and I have shared a correspondence. We’ve never met, but he discovered my work through this blog. He sent an email message through my mom and she passed it on to me. That began a correspondence.
I understand Mike’s anxiety about coming to prison. Prior to my own self-surrender, I was in the same state of anxiety. Never having been confined before, I felt troubled at the thought of spending so much time away from my family and community. I thought the entire time might be a wasted period in my life.
I was fortunate enough to have found an advisor before I self-surrendered. My mom’s search for information about prison led her to Walt Pavlo. She reached out to Walt, and he helped ease her concerns. Walt had once been an executive at World.Com He had his own struggle with the criminal justice system and served a short term in prison.
My mom put me in touch with Walt. At first I was resistant to talking about my upcoming imprisonment. Once Walt and I spoke, however, I felt more at ease. He turned out to have been a magnificent resource for me. We developed a friendship, and his guidance really eased the anxieties I felt about beginning my term.
When I first heard from Mike, I easily identified with all he and his family were going through. I felt happy to respond to his questions. I told him what I thought he needed to know and tried to assure him that all would turn out well. For me, prison has turned out to be a growth opportunity, and I felt certain that a positive adjustment would help Mike as well. The worst part of confinement was the anticipation of beginning.
I received a brief letter from Mike last Friday. It announced that he would self-surrender to Taft Camp this morning. I knew that he would spend some time being processed in. If all was in order with his paperwork, Mike would step onto the camp compound later this afternoon. I intended to do all within my power to ease his adjustment. Doing so would be my way of reciprocating the kindness that Walt showed to my mom and me when I was self-surrendering.