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WHO GOES TO PRISON?

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Many people may wonder just who ends up in a prison. I can answer that question, unfortunately, because I have spent fifteen of the past twenty years in side prison walls. I have seen the people who come here, and I have seen people from all walks of life enter the "system"! Certainly most of those who walk these yards have used drugs, and have abused alcohol. Although this does not excuse their behavior, it does however help us to understand why they may have done the things which they have done to find themselves behind these prison walls. In most cases you can trace the problem all the way back to their childhoods, to abuse of one form or another. Therein you may also find the key to a successful future. Any persons most influential support system, their family. Most people don't give prisoners' family much thought. But they are sentenced and suffer right along with their loved ones in most cases. Contrary to what the newspapers and popular public opinion would lead you to believe, most prisoners are just normal people who have made some poor decisions and who are earnestly trying very hard to find the road that will lead them back to their family and loved ones. They don't sit around "plotting " how to get out and victimize some else.

Most of the bad deeds which have landed many of us in prison were not the result of "criminal plotting", but rather from a "spur of the moment" bad decision or action. Had most of us been sober or straight at the critical moment we would not have made such lousy choices!

How many people have done something really stupid when they're drunk and then once they sober up can not believe that they actually did that! Certainly once the effect of the alcohol or drugs wear off we can think much clearer and make much wiser decisions. Nothing eats at a man more than having to sit here and think about what it was that put him in here, in a clear and sober mind all the time. Oh if we could only turn back time and undo our mistakes!!! But we are only humans who have made some mistakes! Like any human put in this position we feel regret for our mistakes. Most of us will walk out here someday and in a most human fashion we will resume our lives with our children and our wives and our loving families. Who goes to prison? Human beings just like you and your families. Just be thankful that it is not you or your family as it could happen to anyone human!

Daniel Hanic

Kootenai Tribe
Ronan, MT.

© 2001

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