Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: START (02/25/16)
TITLE: Jailhouse Change
By Katy Curry
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It was his third arrest, his first extended stay in jail. His clothes were an orange inmate suit. The other inmates were used to the system and hard men. The little bit of food they fed him was close to inedible, not nearly enough to satisfy his muscular six food frame. He would shiver his nights away as the thin blanket they had provided did nothing to keep him warm. To get food or other creature comforts, he needed money in his canteen account. His “friend” had split with the $300 he was going to use to pay the fine.
“Wyatt! Phone call!” He picked up the phone.
“Jackson, what happened?” Why are you in jail?” It was his mother. “Your brother found you and came and told us. I thought you were out of all that.” Without giving him a chance to respond, she continued. “ I will call an attorney in the morning. Do you have any money in your canteen account?”
“Oh –h, no Mom. How did you know about the canteen account?”
“Remember when I would visit James in jail? I put money in his. I will be up tomorrow to put money in yours.”
“Anything, Mom, whatever you can put in it, “replied Jackson.
“All right, I am taking the day off work so I can go up and find an attorney and get you some money. Jack? I think it is time you began to talk to God. Here, talk to your father.
“Dad, I’m really sorry about this.”
“Good bye, Son. … Jack? Listen to your mother.” Dad hung up.
The next day, Mom deposited the money for his canteen account as promised and that afternoon, he was escorted to a room to meet with his attorney. He would be staying in the jail until his court date, a month away. Mom had stayed to visit and after seeing her, he was escorted back to his cell. His blanket was gone. One of the other inmates had helped himself. It was a common problem because the cell block was kept so cold. There was a ruckus in another room; someone had been caught stealing food from another inmate. Homemade knives appeared, there was screaming, cursing, blood. Jack took advantage of the commotion to grab a blanket from another cell; curled up in the corner of his own, shivering this time not from cold, but from the realization that he could be here a long time.
In the morning, the Chaplain announced mid-week services would be held at 10 AM. Jack was there early and talked with the Chaplain. He shared his story, admitted his mistakes, and expressed the desire to get back to God.
“Jackson, I am pleased to hear you have had a change of heart. You keep coming back to service, bible study, round chair discussions and we will see. It’s the best I can offer you.”
True to his word, Jackson attended every service, bible study, and round table discussion over the next week. After Bible Study one night, Chaplain talked with Jack about his commitment and Jack prayed the Sinner’s Prayer. Thursday morning began with a surprise; Jack was moved to Pod C, jokingly known as the “God Pod”. It was a more open setting; no cells. Jack felt he could relax his guard in there. Whether their crimes were large or small, the inmates all prayed that same prayer and were committed to living better lives.
The food was no better, but he was able to get a second blanket; the other inmates did not steal but shared what they had. Often they would discuss the Bible and how they could turn their lives around.
The time in the “God Pod” proved to be the most inspiring time in his life. Jackson walked out of that jail a different man. The chaplain met with him just before he was released. “Well, son, I hope what you learned in here will carry over to the outside. Are you ready to start a new life? “
“Yes, Chaplain, I am. You know, it even feels like a new start. I’ll walk out of that door and make you, Mom, and Jesus proud.
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