I am a father of 6 children. My wife and I were successful business owners until we fell on hard times. Many of the factories and surrounding businesses in our community were shut down due to the 2008 economy crisis. Our childcare facility had come to an abrupt halt. We were 3 months behind on our mortgage and Christmas was approaching swiftly. My family and I were feeling the pressures of total loss. Loss of business, loss of our home, and loss of control of our well-being. So I made a choice to invest the remainder of our depleted bank funds into illegal drugs to sell. I was looking for a quick fix, hoping to stabilize our spiraling downward at warp speed when my nightmare began.
March 16, 2010, the federal Marshals engulfed my reality, and enslaved my freedom. No citizen could ever fathom the thought of being incarcerated or the thought of being separated from your loved ones other than death itself. So please allow me “AMAN” to escort you through my journey to hell, Behind the Wall.
On February 2, 2011, I was sentenced to 121 months in the federal penitentiary. After 1 year of tug a war court proceedings of continuous fighting for a sentence between the guideline range of 5 years to 40 years for selling cocaine, I was convicted. Feeling nauseated, and weak kneed from my sentencing verdict I mustered enough strength to remain attentive to hear the last muffling words from the judge, saying “the Defendant is to be housed in a prison in Kentucky. This will allow his family an opportunity to have as strong of family ties as possible under these life altering circumstances.” Being stifled by the verdict of my new reality, my attention focused on my family. How could I still be the best father, brother, friend, son, and husband regardless of our new situation. I say our situation because we all have a new reality. The absence of one person has a lasting effect on every soul entwined in family and friendship. True love is a bond never broken, our pains are one in the same. Moving forward.
March 13, 2011, I arrived in California. Stunned, shocked, and terrified, I began to question how and why? explaining that my judge recommended I’d be housed in Kentucky to remain close to my family. Orientation was the following day. I was informed that I was now a product of the FBOP and my judge had no say in where the FBOP decided to house inmates. Distraught, in a state of delusion, somewhat delirious, I wrecked my brain trying to process How does a Judge can have no power? 3000 plus miles away from Bowling Green, KY, my family struggling to understand How was I locked in prison in Lompoc, California, when Lompoc was the farthest institution from Kentucky? I would never dare add any more stress on my loved ones so I lied. Being a man not too fond of lying, in this case I had to lie, because the truth had the power to suffocate my mother, wife, and children. To give them a visual nightmare to my actual reality, under no circumstance, could I allow them to see a picture so vivid. So I lied instinctively and told them not to worry, that I would only be here for approximately 6 months, knowing that no explanation would be sufficient, I tried my best to hide the truth that I was in a warzone, in a land of the unknown. The prison was flooded with gangs, Bloods, Crips, GD’s, Vice lords, Mexican Mafia, Soriano’s, all different gangs which was foreign to anything I’ve ever known living in Bowling Green. The truth was I did not know if I would make it home.
Reality settled in instantly. Though I loved my family dearly, I had to stay in tuned with my surroundings, to have a fighting chance to return home, when any situation could turn to life or death in a blink of an eye. Racial tension could be felt like arthritis in the bones. I had to carry a fiberglass shank for protection because everybody had a knife made of fiberglass, which was as deadly as a samurai sword, capable of gutting or filleting fish. It could not be detected by a metal detector, and I prayed I’d never have to use it or get caught with or without it. To get caught with it would be jeopardizing good time loss, or an increase in prison security levels. To be caught without it would be jeopardizing my health, well-being, and life which I could never chance. These were new realities I could never share with my family because I knew that my mother’s blood pressure would skyrocket through the roof. I knew my wife would stress to the point that she could not conceal her emotions from our children. I knew a domino effect would begin to place a stranglehold on the ones I loved most, the very people I would protect with my life. So it was a given, that I had to shoulder the weight of my reality and shelter the hearts and minds of those who mattered most.
However, Lompoc had many educational programs which I occupied my days with. One program I recall in particular was a parenting class, which many inmates loved. It was a course taught by a volunteer, outside contractor. The instructor was dismissed for questioning, How does the FBOP encourage family ties when it has a design to break family bonds by sending so many men and women thousands of miles from home. I could relate to everyone of them being 3000 miles plus away from home. The instructor asked “How could he help mend broken families when many men were not able to have a physical relationship at all due to the extreme distance between parents and children?” He said “the ability to look into your children’s eyes as often as possible and engaging physically as much as possible has a lifetime effect and no family should be completely torn apart from locking men and women up across country.”
He said “the 1st part in parenting was availability.” He was dismissed for having compassion and the ability to show empathy to a prisoner. Before the instructor expressed his thoughts and feelings, he told our class that he didn’t think the FBOP will like or approve of today’s lesson but he felt impelled to share his heart with us prisoners.
He said “it was the humanly thing to do.” Food for thought..Could the FBOP really be designed to break family bonds? Or is this a byproduct of just assigning human beings to a prison bed? Harsh reality shows that some of the methods used by the FBOP are truly detrimental to any family bond. I will express many other concerns real soon and Do my best to paint prison pictures more vivid than HD. Sign off now ”