Remembering Christmas in prison  by Jamie, out on parole

A chat with inmates about spending Christmas in prison

xmasprison-2.jpeg

When a person is sent to prison, everything is taken away from them, wife, kids, family, and freedom. Whatever life they were living is gone. While you sit in prison you watch the seasons change as your time goes on, but the holiday season of Christmas is the hardest for most inmates.

 

I am a man that loves my family and enjoys the holiday season. It brings happiness to so many people but not to those incarcerated. As I think back about my first Christmas and experience in a federal institution, the only thing that comes to mind is being lonely.

 

I did have a lot of friends in prison, but it just didn't seem to matter because the only thing I could think of was my children and how I let them down, and what kind of Christmas they would have without me. I think for me the hardest was the phone call on Christmas Eve. Having to call home and listen to all my family in the background having a good time was very difficult. Having to hear the voices of my children and my mother on the phone and how sad and incomplete they felt, still brings tears to my eyes.

 

My 10-year-old daughter asked me, with a little hope in her heart, if I would be home for next Christmas. So, I did what I needed to do, and I lied to her and told her, yes, just to give her some happiness and hope in her heart for one day.

 

I know the inmates and the institution try and make Christmas a little easier on the guys, with social events and Christmas canteen but at the end of the day, it's just you and the thoughts of your guilt and just wanting to be home for Christmas 🎄. 

 

My heart goes out to all my friends and all the inmates now in prison because the season is near, and I know it doesn't get any easier.

Much love to all my friends,

Jamie

To read more testimonials,

click here.

940B77FC-971B-47B1-B95D-C5991601A242_1_201_a.jpeg

Spending time in Prison can be difficult all year, however, when holiday times come near it can be even more difficult for fellows who are separated from their loved ones.

 

Kathleen and Kim were privileged to hear some of the thoughts of the fellows we are currently visiting in the minimum prison at Stony Mountain.  We are humbled by their words and their willingness to share their most intimate thoughts

 

  • I can say it is so different being in the minimum than when I celebrated Christmas in the medium.  I am so grateful to be here and not there.  I found it was easy to take things for granted when I was in the medium, and I paid no attention to the little things, the details. In minimum, I can see the little things and it is good for my mental health.

  • I am more humbled in the minimum.  I am grateful for what I have here compared to what I had at the medium.

  • Christmas is a time to reflect on what I have.

  • Christmas is different here than in the real world.  In the real world, I really took everything for granted and so now I have way more humility than I ever have in my life.

  • In the community, we used to have a Christmas gathering of many people and for me, it will never be the same because with my criminal history I will not be welcome back to the gatherings. 

  • I am treated with a lot of dignity in the minimum and am thankful for the fellows in my house that I live with.  I know we all respect each other and will enjoy Christmas however I am still in prison and need to always keep my guard up.

  • Christmas is so nice, and you do always know you are in prison, and not with your family.  I have a great family and it makes me sad to know I am not with them. 

  • I must keep positive and keep a good focus, so I look forward to cooking and I look forward to telling my family all about us cooking for the Christmas dinner. 

  • I will always be happy and cheerful with my family even if it is very sad and hard to accept that I am here.

  • My hope for a future Christmas is that I can take all the cooking skills I have learned here and one day cook and bake a beautiful Christmas dinner for my family. 

  • I am happy I have the men I live with to have dinner together and we will enjoy ourselves.

  • There can be a lot of tension in our houses in prison over Christmas because things are just not as joyful as in the community.  Missing family, not being able to buy presents for the kids is the joyful part that is missing.

  • There is sadness and hurt for the majority.  I am so happy to be alive, clean, and healthy.  I will focus on that.

  • There is a great privilege for us in minimum as we can have a home experience and share cooking and dinner and being together at the table.  This is joyful and fulfills me.

  • Future Hope is a bridge to the community for us here in prison.  You are all not quick to judge us and sometimes others are.  We are human and we are going forward.  One step at a time.  I look forward to the future and all the holidays together.

  • I pray for another Christmas with my mom when I get out of prison.  She is wonderful!