Sunday, January 16, 2011
I have lost track of the number of Lifers I've met along the years who have had huge, sometimes permanent, fallings out with their families.
These are not your normal familial spats. These rows grow out of the nature of the Life sentence. Families are forever asking "Why aren't you out yet??" - and accuse the Lifer of keeping misdeeds from them.
It is a perpetual - and tiring! - task to try to explain to outsiders, family included, that prisons are not rational bureaucracies. Being a Good Boy doesn't necessarily lead to a speedier release.
Having spent decades trying to grasp the nature of the machine that grinds away at my bones, of attempting to find some rational basis for what I see and experience, I can only come to one conclusion. It is essentially arbitrary and unpredictable. As scary as that realisation is, it really is the only explanation that covers the facts. It's like having your house run by a 2 year old.
Only when families grasp this do they fully support "their" Lifer and stop blaming him for matters outside of his control.