What comes to mind when you think of prisoner support? I will not attempt to direct your thoughts here. It is an open question. I will tell you about my thoughts.

Being away from society instills an insecurity inside me. I am not alone in this, most prisoners feel the same whether they admit it or not. Supporting a prisoner means easing some of those insecurities. Prison makes, by design, you feel small and insignificant. Everyone not dressed like you is above you. Everyone, and if you do not treat them as above you, well…you just do not do that.

It means patiently helping us through our emotions as adult human beings using lots of exchanges. Not enabling us, not showering us with items and no affection. Send us five dollars or a picture of you? I would rather have the picture.

Of course there is lots of things prisoners need. Rehabilitation, drug treatment for some, mental health treatment, programs, education, jobs, release resources…yup, yup, and yup. But what we really need, what really motivates us to pursue change is people.

Most of us are hated, despised, and cut off. So for someone to reach across that invisible barrier that separates us from you, it is life changing.

With Love
Jeff Utnage