Something You’ve Never Done

by Harry Goodall

The main thing I want to do is be a dad. I have two kids, but have missed all of their lives because of a prison sentence. I feel that just because I helped in the creation of my kids does not make me a dad.  I’m just a donor. It’s other scenarios that had complicated me being involved in their lives, but I have had to learn to live with that.  If I didn’t place myself in prison maybe the restrictions wouldn’t be there. After all, you’re not placed in prison because you’re a good guy.

As a result of missing all of their lives, there is some resentment in how my kids feel about me. They are not to blame. How can you explain to someone that has needed you all their lives, that you felt the crime you committed, that you had to do it. I have estranged relationships with my kids. It’s sort of hard for them to accept me and what I can offer them as I have always been missing from their life. read more

Sharing Our Deepest Scars

by Keith Erickson

The scars of my childhood are the very parts of me that so many men like me, incarcerated men, want to keep locked away from the rest of the world around them. The Alternatives to Violence Project Workshops bring out the courage in men that you would never expect to witness within a prison. This weekend was like a whirlwind of emotions and laughter that left many of us crying, yet with the realization that our personal afflictions are so much bigger than just ourselves—they also belong to so many others within and outside of these granite walls.

Fatherhood/Parenting: this was the focus of this weekend’s workshop. New faces, some familiar, yet uncharted territory for many of us to share due to the scars that are concealed beneath the billboard display of tattoos that take up much of our bodies. It is a well-known fact amongst us prisoners; the Alternatives to Violence Project is designed to make you uncomfortable in order to make you comfortable. There is no growth without the pain of finally beginning to confront the damage that’s been done to you, including the damage we’ve all been guilty of doing to others. That’s the beauty of these workshops: we learn to love, trust, and support men around us regardless of where it is that we’ve been, all within a crash-course un-fold of three days. In the bigger picture, we’re restoring our humanity while helping one another heal. read more

No One

by Marwin

I open my eyes, mostly to blink away the tears. My gaze falls upon
a pile of a fabric at the end of my bed. Under a thick layer of dust
there are multiple patterns and colors. My blankets. They come in
and out of focus as I think about my past, the things I’ve done, who I
am. If I’m honest with myself, I can see why people say I’m arrogant
and selfsh and proud. I can see why people say I’m cold, I’m hard
and I’m only interested in winning.

Maybe I deserve this. Maybe I should just give up and die. It
would be easy, so beautifully easy. Muscles I didn’t even know were
tensed let go and relax, ready to let me slip away.

Before I give into the darkness, a feeble voice fghts back. It
tells me: “No, you don’t deserve this. Maybe you’re a bad, horrible
person, but this isn’t right. No one deserves this. No one.” read more