Monday, June 04, 2012

Prison Andy Shares

I've taken to sitting in on AA meetings because it's here Sydneysiders talk about things that actually scratch the surface of interesting, controversial and profound. For all the same reasons, I write letters to my prison pen pal Andy, the former pedophile. After 12 years, Andy is just out of prison.

Last month, they transported him from Texas to a halfway house in Utah. He recounted his first days of quasi-freedom on a Greyhound bus. The bus journey made him nauseous - his nerves and the motion. He had not been in a vehicle in so many years. Then he went to a Wal-Mart and was totally "WTF'd" by the technology section. He just wanted a CD and a... Discman, which is hilarious. I'm writing letters to a time-traveler!

Another major first impression was shock at the cult of the cell phone. Andy isn't allowed, due to the "nature of his crime", a cell phone. Though drug pushers and other criminals in the halfway house are. He's also must undergo a battery of "Inquisition-like" pschological evaluations including electrodes on his penis, is forbidden alcohol and must cease contact with the friends from back in prison. After being locked up for 12 years, those people are pretty much your family.

Andy says the halfway house is more menacing than prison ever was, and he's now living on the down low for safety. Still, his spirit ain't broken, even if he's unble to let himself truly contemplate freedom, the same as society often never truly contemplates forgiveness. He writes, ever eloquent:

"I didn't give myself to the incarceration machine therefore I'm not irreversably institutionalized. Thank the gods for that plus my indomitable will to not become what the vast majority in the system do become: broken, afraid, lost, irrelevant... "

1 comment:

Tony said...

Wow - what a story. Seems to me that your friendship with Andy is one of the things that helps him maintain his spirit of determination. I wish him well.