Life has its highs and lows. There are things that chance into our lives that we never bargained for from the outset. A typical example could be having a flat tire while running to make it to a job interview on time. But, if for any reason, one finds his freedom confined within the walls of a prison, the effects are really devastating.
It is really sad that one’s freedom can be taken away from him for one or more reasons. Honestly, I am not trying to stand for or against the legal system that upholds jail sentences. But, I am trying to x-ray the effects of such a sentence on a person with regard to his family members and friends. I think that is where it really hurts.
Now, there are many prisoners who probably left behind their wives and kids. Even if the wife of a prisoner has the inner strength to stay without the man, what about the raising of their kids? Raising children is never meant for a single parent. The challenges involved are enormous. Sometimes, the kids end up in foster homes. Yes, it is true that these kids can receive proper nurturing in such environments, but that of his parents can never be equalled by any other.
Statistics reveal that most children who end up gangsters and prostitutes are traced to dysfunctional homes. There is the role of a parent, even though he may not be morally perfect, that the child needs. The fact that dad is around has a way of shaping the life of kids. A recent documentary by CNN titled; “American Al-Qaida”, tells the story of how a young American lad joined the Al-Qaida network after mom and dad separated. The picture is no different when mom or dad is confined within prison walls. They are separated, and the frustration gets deeper and lethal.
In addition, friends of prisoners suffer a lot, too. In a friendship, everyone brings something to the table. Friendship is like parts of our body. Each differs from the other, but in all, they are best of friends with a single purpose. Once a finger is bad it could affect even the head. So, when someone is imprisoned, his friends suffer. They are denied the warmth and fellowship of a noble friend. For some prisoners who had pen-friends before the jail sentence, imagine the endless letters going out without a single reply coming in. Worse still, if the prisoner was addicted to social sites, such as Facebook, it will hit his friends hard on the network as they keep sending messages and postings without any replies or “likes.”
Such is what people go through just for one man in jail. He is not the only one bearing the burden. In fact, some families bear more than the prisoner does. It is really a breaking time for friends and family members who have someone spending a while behind bars. And the heater turns on during birthdays of their loved ones in prison. Friends and relations would love to gather and celebrate with him. But such can only exist in the realm of wishful thinking. Being in prison is a hard knock on both sides. But courage and faith surely conquer.
By Renee Patterson
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