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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Life on the Outside: The Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett

With the holidays coming up, I want you guys to imagine something.
Imagine you're running low on money and just want to make the holiday great, big meal, gifts for everyone. An opportunity arises for you to make a whole lot of cash, FAST. Just carry a little bit of cocaine and you'll make your family so happy when they see the money. 
Elaine Bartlett did just that and was sentenced 20-to-life for a drug bust she was barely a part of. 
Elaine and her boyfriend Nathan were set up by a guy named Charlie, or George Deets, if you will. Charlie didn't want one of his good friends to go to prison, so he promised a couple of police officers of a drug bust that was going to go down. Resulting in the arrests of Elaine and Nathan.
This event is what starts Life on the Outside: The Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett. 
Told in 4 separate parts, we follow Elaine through court, prison, clemency, and getting back on her feet. We follow her family who has to deal with their parents being in prison. Trust is broken, bonds are broken, and home will never feel like home again.
After 16 years incarcerated, Elaine finally was released on clemency. She couldn't wait to get home to her babies. But her babies were no longer babies. Her babies had babies!! Apache, her oldest, basically took over the parental role when she was arrested. He grew up into a fine young man. But Jamel... Oh Jamel walked a dangerous line with the law. Throughout the book he continuously finds his way back to Rikers Island. 
It hurts to read something like this where family is so broken....
But we are the ones doing this to our society.
I had to read Life on the Outside for my Community Corrections class.
This class has taught me so much! This book has even taught me more than I ever imagined.
Excuse the profanity, but we treat our prisoners like absolute shit. 
We're breaking families apart. We're creating a society where kids grow up without parents. Without parents, we're seeing more and more kids become entangled with the law and then wonder why our prisons are overcrowded??? 
These people still need our help, we cannot turn our backs on them when they make a mistake. 
They are still people and believe it or not, they will be coming out of prison. They will be joining our society once again. Lets help them before it's too late.

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