Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Importance Of Friendship in Federal Prison

Powering through a prison term is made easier with the help of good friends. Surely, an indictment and conviction imperils friendships, even lifelong ones. Indeed, losing some friends was one of the many casualties of my conviction. Fortunately, so many more stuck with me.

Friendship, is always essential, especially when traveling through the system. Fighting a criminal case presents a series of strange emotions. I, for one, engaged in a series of higher highs and lower lows. One moment I was excited to be tackling the toughest moment of my life; the next I was smoking and crushing double doubles from In&Out, obsessing over how my life was falling apart. Friends helped me find the middle ground, and perspective.

Perhaps what I appreciated most from my friends was their patience and decision not to judge me. As one friend said,”but for the grace of god, go I. In my life I have made bad decisions. Who am I to judge?” Such comments buoyed my spirits, providing solace when I needed it most.

My friends also stepped up to help my family. My parents were naturally worried about me when I began my term. What parent wouldn’t be? My friends took the time to console my parents worries when they needed it most. It may have been as quick as a phone call to say hello, or even a cup of coffee. The point is they took the time to do it, and for that I am eternally grateful.

My friends support enabled me to serve my sentence with dignity and strength. Their belief in me strengthened me, and it helped me make my prison term one of the most productive years of my life.

Justin Paperny

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