Today I can’t help but reminisce about the women I left behind in Federal Prison. Some of them are serving LIFE sentences for lesser crimes than I have committed.
Yesterday I went to a Mass Orientation at Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) to talk to the women who are starting supervision. My director sent me down there to talk to the women about the services we offer. During the orientation some of the women were expressing negative attitudes and I truly understood why.
They are sick and tired of people monitoring them in an effort to control their behavior. As I spoke to the female Returning Citizens about The Office on Returning Citizen Affairs and the services we offer, I noticed that some of them were barely listening. They were willing themselves to sit through that orientation and just get it over with. I told them “I get it,” and I shared my personal journey with supervision.
Sometimes being on supervision is an unwelcome intrusion. It’s a waste of my time and a nuisance. Nevertheless, I was reminded yesterday, and I shared with the women, that we are blessed to have received a second chance. There are some women who are still incarcerated and others who have met their demise as a result of the choices they have made. I told them, “Those women have made similar choices that we made.” We have a second chance to become productive citizens and rebuild our lives. I added, “We didn’t dig this hole overnight and we won’t get out of it overnight.”
We have to practice some patience with ourselves and with the system and be willing to see the big picture. The fact of the matter is that based on our past actions, we warrant supervision and all that it entails. As long as we are not using drugs and committing crimes being on supervision is not that difficult.
As I left the building I found myself basking in the mercy and love in my life. Then, I thought about all of the women I left behind. Some of them are serving very lengthy sentences. I pray that they, too, are practicing an attitude of gratitude because despite the situation you may find yourself in, you are blessed each day with a new opportunity to grow and develop into a better person. That’s the beauty of change, it’s constant.