I remember what it was like in my early years as a first time offender. I remember the first day as if it were yesterday. I remember my first cellmate and the extreme violence of high security. It was difficult.
It was stressful.
Above all else, I remember struggling to come to grips with my new reality. I fought to regain footing in my life and I found myself grasping at shattered memories. Oftentimes I thought of giving up.
Eventually I found a new path. I developed a daily routine, exercised, and took to reading books. I immersed myself in programs and self-help classes, and joined inmate led organizations like the Jaycees, the Stamp Club, and the American Red Cross. I wrote short stories to pass the time and discovered how to write. Anything to redirect my attention and to keep moving forward.
From those early years I emerged anew. Through adversity I found direction and a new outlook on life. I’m one of the lucky ones. Many men and women don’t make it to this point.
Today’s guest writer is a woman named Brandy who is serving a life sentence in the state of Ohio. She’s early into her time, and in her essay you’ll hear echoes of some of the very things I’ve written about in this blog. She writes of fear and loss and how she has discovered that path forward. Most importantly, her words represent a universe of first time female offenders whose voices you’ll never hear.
Read her essay What It’s Like for a First Time Offender now.
*All of incarceration is struggle. Share Brandy’s voice so that others will know and understand.