Incarcerated Writers Series: Revolving Door

By CHRIS THE CONSCIENCE

I’ve come to notice that the revolving door which leads back to jail is pretty serious. There are plenty of factors in the world outside of these walls that can contribute to one returning to this horrible place, whether it is stress, domestic disputes, or drug problems.

A big issue that I’ve actually asked guys about, and some of those I’ve picked up on as a sixth sense you could say, is that a good portion of guys just don’t care and choose to go right back to the same lifestyle once they get released. It seems that some would rather continue to dig a hole instead of putting in the necessary work it takes to pull oneself out of the world of darkness.

I too was once guilty of this mind frame, and it does take mental strength and gaining knowledge of self to leave that mind state behind. One thing that needs to be realized is the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same things and expecting different results. This was a small piece of understanding I had to comprehend.

There are some programs that the jail has and some in the community that can help with reintegration into society. One is called Reintegration and Recovery, which consists of classes such as Thinking for Change, Center on Fathering, Drug Awareness, and so forth. Another program the jail has is called the Gateway Program, where you actually leave the jail and go work at jobs that inmates get paid for. This includes places such as World Arena and Skybox Stadium. If you stay with the Gateway Program throughout your sentence, Gateway will help you with housing and finding a job after release. There is also the military vet program that helps military veterans get the help they need while incarcerated and once released from jail. Pikes Peak Workforce has some really great opportunities with job fairs and help with getting into certain job trades.

So there are a few programs out there designed to help us get on our feet once we leave jail. I understand these programs do not accept everybody, and that more programs need to be put in place to help ex-convicts and inmates. But the help is there, and we must be willing to use these things to our advantage where there is help.   You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink!

One guy I met in jail here has come back to jail four times since I’ve been here because of domestic disputes with his girlfriend. Overall, he’s been to jail 19 times because of domestic disputes with the same person over the past three years. Another guy was released two weeks ago and is already back with new charges. I didn’t even recognize him for the first couple of days he was back because he was so sucked up and skinny from drug use. He has lost at least 15 pounds in two weeks. People come back for multiple DUIs in the same month. I could only imagine the stories some of these deputies could tell after years of working here.

My point is this: if we want to stop the revolving door of coming in and out of jail, in many ways it is a community effort with programs and such, but really it comes down to the individual. Thought is the cause of it all, so your thought process has to change, which changes your actions. We want the fast money, fast cars, and the fast life. That may work for a while, but when it all falls down, you lose everything just as fast as you got it. Once you go to jail or prison, you are forgotten about even faster because it’s outta sight outta mind!

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