Saturday, May 1, 2010

My Adjustment Problems

Yesterday,in "Prison Rehab Doesn't Exist," I showed you how a prison psychologist set me up for potential failure with her response to an essay I sent to her. I posted that essay the day before "Getting Better Makes Prisoners Worse."

I've done well for myself thanks to my faith, and family (home and church). I've made a lot of mistakes too, but I'll discuss those later. First, I want to explain something very critical.

The average prisoner doesn't possess the knowledge of psychology the psychologist praised me for. That means they won't be able to make the adjustment to being a productive member of of society as well as I have. Despite the psychologist's confidence in me, I haven't had it easy.

Adjusting to society after 9.5 years inside prison has posed many challenges. All my friends know from previous posts how much I've accomplished. However, I have I knack for offending people when I don't mean to.

In prison, I had to have a hard heart in order to survive. As a result, I spoke bluntly. I had a take-no-shit attitude. I've had to learn that not everyone can handle my straightforwardness. Another mistake I made was trying to be too helpful.

A lot of people get offended. This is their emotional right. However, to do so over a simple misunderstanding is more emotional work than necessary. It easier to try to resolve matters--as long as you're dealing with rational people. However, some feel I have no right to tell them how to improve something they are already good at. Some think I'm being a know-it-all.

I've had difficulty dealing with women too. I'm very assertive. I love and appreciate all women. If I'm attracted for whatever reason {attraction doesn't have to be sexual} I make that known. I most often tried to break the ice by showering compliments. It always worked in prison-what else would I try? I think Ive been scaring people (especially women who know little about me other than the fact that I've spent time in prison.

It's been hard to balance my life with all its new responsibilities: work, blogging, marketing my writing, family, church, social life, budgeting and unexpected surprises. For ten years, I haven't had these obligations.

Sometimes I've bitten off more than I can chew. Sometimes I've come across as arrogant when I try to put my best foot forward. I often make the mistake of trusting people to do what they say they'll do.

I fully understand. I can't always do what I intend to do. Its called being human to some. I call it irresponsible (even when I'm guilty of it.) Its bad because we can cause problems for others who depend on us.

Despite these setbacks, I can feel good about all I have achieved in less than three months. I'm most proud of the new computer I bought. Fully loaded.

In all, society fails its citizens that return to it from prison. We fail them by not insuring that prisoners who want to better themselves are given the guidance and tools they need while incarcerated. [Remember, most prisoners don't know what it means to get better.] Most of them reenter society as outcasts and are usually driven back to crime.

This must stop. If we want crime to stop--which would save money that goes into the criminal justice system--we have to prevent the spread of the criminal institution I explained in "A Theory of Institutionalization." In order do this right we must prevent prisoners from teaching the institution to children. That means we have to teach the prisoners how to break themselves out of the criminal mindset.

On a personal note, I sincerely apologize to those I'm sure I've upset because of my ignorance. I beg your forgiveness.

Always real;
Supaman Tion Terrell

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