Sunday, April 30, 2017
Arizona, come on vacation, leave on probation!!
Blessings to you readers and friends, life is busy and my blog posts are few. But here goes.
I thought this title was pretty funny when a fellow employee shared it with me this week. It is true that this law and order state imprisons folks driving through with marijuana in their possession just to use not sell.
Met a Rastafarian dude from Massachusetts who met that fate, and their religion is rife with the ceremonial use of the substance.
Now that I am in my sixth month I am amazed as how many of the guys I know on the yard, their stories, their lifestyles, their personalities. Fully one third of our 2000 inmates are part of the religious turnout, and I talk to more each day for special issues with family emergencies and various types of interactions. I walk through visitation weekly to meet their girlfriends and parents and wives and children and I know how big a price these families all pay for our penal system and for crimes that harm people and property.
Now that I have been preaching for a month they are eager to share with someone who they know will not prejudge them and someone who treats them as human beings. As I work I find myself still believing strongly in the power of hope, faith, and the transformative message of the good news. The Christian worship is strong, and joyful, and they are serious about growing in the Lord.
I do wish Arizona had a more active leniency and parole board. So many of these men are healed, and high functioning and more than ready to return to family and the workforce. The sentences in AZ are all over the place and some are outrageously long for the crimes committed.
On the other hand I am reminded every single day of the devastation of drugs and alcohol and the power of addiction at which we are spending huge resources to help. I hear such frightening stories of how violent and cruel life on the edge of poverty caused by addiction really is. I can truly say that I am not wasting my time with these men, for so many have learned their lessons and are changed men.
On a family note, this work consumes 50 hrs a week with the commute, so Laura and I cherish our evenings and regular days off. Our decision to buy this beautifully comfortable home and fix it up for a profit is now on full burn as we plan one project as one is finished. I know this lifestyle is rewarding, but I also know that there will be a time to slow down, just not right now. Thankful for health, energy, exercise, and relatively healthy eating in spite of my own addiction to left and right Twix.