For many families, Christmastime is a time of celebration. But the holidays can also be a lonely time for people in prison.
As a former gang leader in Los Angeles in the 1980s, I was arrested and sentenced to 12 ½ years in solitary confinement in the California State Prison system. And I knew I deserved to be there.
When the mail comes around and other guys are getting letters and cards and you don’t, it hits you. You feel forgotten.
Some might say, “Good, you deserve to be forgotten.” Fair enough. But what about the prisoner who understands his crime, is repentant and wants to make a positive change? That guy needs a little help from the outside to overcome the negative environment that exists in prison.
I am the first to acknowledge that the majority of prisoners — especially the guys in solitary confinement — deserve to be there. And I knew a lot of inmates who were still as mean and violent as the day they arrived. But there are many prisoners who would jump at a chance for a new life, a second chance.
I can tell you from experience, a little compassion can go a long way. A quick visit, a few prayers, or a card in the mail could be the difference that helps them make it through.
For me, it was a woman named Frances Proctor who came to my cell to visit me. This little lady from South Central Los Angeles would load up a small church bus and drive all the way to our prison in Folsom, California, just to share the Bible and a little encouragement. She didn’t have to do that.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Casey Diaz