Freedom on Earth?

Written by a Current Resident at TCCC

I’m a 40-year-old Hispanic male. I was 17 when I caught my first case in 1989. I got another charge in 1990 when I was 18 years old. I ended up plea bargaining for 60 years aggravated assault. If I wouldn’t have done that, I would’ve been facing stacked sentences. My lawyer told me I’d do 15 years in prison then get paroled and go home. 15 years passed. They had me do 15 years more. I finally made parole in 2018 to go to 9-month sex treatment, and I completed with a certificate. After completing this, my address was approved to move to my father’s home. My family was excited. My 20-year-old sister helped my father add a room for me to their house. My ex-girlfriend from middle school, who is now a dental assistant, would be there to support me for my release. My 91-year-old grandmother would be there. We planned to surprise her. She was the lady that raised me.

Then, I had a visit from a prosecutor and a psychiatrist telling me that I’m being sued for my rights to go home. If I didn’t cooperate and answer his questions, he would only have to go by my prison and criminal history. So, I talked to him about my upbringing just so they can use this against me in Civil Court.

Having to process this confusing state of mind I was in, I felt as if I was being retried for the cases I’ve already served time. 30 years is a long time for me to grow and to come to this place to talk about why I did these things, how I thought back then, and express treatment terminology. I go through mental trauma of the past and fight every day to understand what happened.

I can’t explain this to anyone that would fully understand what’s going on here. This has my family too overwhelmed to comprehend. They are hurt and helpless because they don’t know what to do. My dad is 73 years old. My mother is 77 years old. My grandmother 91, and I can’t explain about this place to her. I have to tell her I’m still in prison. I’ve made parole to have the opportunity to be with my family while they are alive. They are my support, but I have to survive and not lose my sanity.

This place is more strict and scarier than any other place. They can keep us away from communication. Who would know if I could or couldn’t really call my family? When we went through Corona-19, we were locked down and I got infected. I thought I was going to die in a cell alone, away from my family, not able to show them how much I have matured or able to give them my gratitude for the new life I’ve been living.

I got on the job training as a cook for 13 years. Now here, I have no job. No income. One thing I want to stop doing is stop asking for help financially and help my parents and grandmother.

This is a hate crime. The reality is to keep sex offenders off the street. I wake up next to a toilet and a roommate who is a stranger just like in prison. I have a monitor because I’m on parole. Almost everyday I get woke up to walk the breezeway because my monitor on my leg is not registering (in a locked facility). It’s a 30-minute walk at 1AM and again on the same day at 4:30AM. I go to group and hear people arguing in the living area. People are fighting and arguing. I’m living in prison all over again. My family asks me, how was my day? I’m just silent. I have to find encouragement within myself. I hear them ask, “How much longer? Grandma is holding on and wants to hug you before she leaves.”

Medical, officers, trays, barbed wire fence, certain time to eat. Who can I talk to? What help? What change? Where am I? Just keep moving forward to the end of the tunnel. The light to freedom here on this earth, or to be with God and I’ll be with my family there. That is my only hope.

Dare to dream

One thought on “Freedom on Earth?

  1. Your description of the conditions as “a hate crime” is spot on. I haven’t heard anyone apply that name, but it really rang true for me. Thank you for your essay. It was very informative.

    Like

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