“Stories Of A Prisoner’s Wife”

Entry Sixteen

By Diane S.

Broken.

That seems to be a word I often use to describe various things in my life lately.

My heart is broken. My life feels broken. My stepson’s spirit is broken. My mother-in-law’s heart is broken. My husband is a broken man on the mend. Our extended family has been broken apart as some have decided they just can’t support or even accept this situation. I understand that and I hold no fault towards them. Some can continue a relationship with me even though they don’t support my decisions & I am very grateful for the maturity on their part and mine to make those relationships work. Some have removed themselves completely because they can’t handle any aspect of the situation.

I understand  one of their concerns. I am not bitter towards them….anymore. My city is broken. This country is broken. The justice system in this country is VERY broken.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  Psalm 147:3

All of the above mentioned brokenness can only be healed by Jesus. Unfortunately we live in a society where our leaders and politicians look anywhere and everywhere but Jesus for answers. In fact, they deliberately steer as far as they can from this very simple answer to all of this.

JESUS.

I don’t understand why that’s such a hard concept for people. Jesus. He’s the answer. It seems so easy that it is mind-boggling that people literally run in the other direction to avoid Him.

In the last week I have seen quite a few examples of just how broken the society we live in has truly become. My friend Tony just wrote an article on here called “Punishing the Innocent” and his article showcased some of the brokenness that I have not yet experienced just simply because my journey is so new. I am blessed to have such a wise friend who is always challenging my thoughts and making me look deeper into myself.

In my last post I mentioned how some people close to me reacted to finding out a sex offender was in their neighborhood. The reaction they had is so common, so normal, so broken. It is a reminder of society’s brain-washed mentality regarding ANYONE on the sex offender registry. It is like a scarlet letter. I never imagined I would ever relate with Hester Prynne on any level when I read this book in high school but I find the quote below to be quite accurate for not only the beginning of my journey but so many others with heart breaking stories just like mine:

“In all her intercourse with society, however, there was nothing that made her feel as if she belonged to it. Every gesture, every word, and even the silence of those with whom she came in contact, implied, and often expressed, that she was banished, and as much alone as if she had inhabited another sphere, or communicated with the common nature by other organs than the rest of human kind.” Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”

If you want proof of just how broken the justice system is read through your Facebook feed or scroll through the top stories on Yahoo or MSN. The stories are endless, each with their own brokenness. I am sure if you aren’t living under a rock you have heard about the current storm The Duggar family from Arkansas is going through. My thoughts on that one still aren’t coherent. I just don’t know how I feel other than sadness for a broken family and its broken victims. I’m not sure I have an opinion on the appropriate course of action at this point. I do know that his wife and children are suffering a great deal from a mistake he made a very long time ago and that is so very sad for all involved. There is a lot of brokenness surrounding that story and I can’t imagine having to try to deal with that while in the public eye.

I offer them my prayers but I truly don’t know where I stand on the issue.

In the last 12 hours our local news stations have posted two different stories about teachers having sexual relationships with students. They were both on-going relationships. One teacher brought the student to their home and gave the individual alcohol on some of the visits. He was sentenced to 6 years in prison and the judge suspended all but SIX MONTHS! In the other case, the child was under 14 and the teacher served 6 years. Meanwhile in federal prisons across this country people are serving 8, 10, 15, or even 20 year sentences simply because they downloaded a file from a music sharing site and it had hidden inappropriate images in it. The government tracked these photos to these people’s computers and the consequences include broken men, wives, children, mothers, brothers, sisters….etc.

These are people who didn’t go searching for those photos, they accidentally got them & promptly deleted them when they opened what they thought was music or a movie they downloaded for their child. These people are the faces of an incredibly large number of the sex offenders sitting in federal prisons serving 5+ year sentences. Meanwhile, we have teachers having physically inappropriate relationships with children they are trusted to TEACH that are serving SIX MONTHS, or sometimes all they receive is probation.

It’s not just stories about sex offenders either. Not long ago there was a story out of Atlanta in which a professional sports player admitted to shooting and killing a 22yr old mother as she was walking down a street. He had no reason other than he thought she was someone else. His sentence was short and he will end up serving 4-5 years, FOR TAKING SOMEONE’S LIFE! It makes me irate.

These stories are endless….these stories are sad……..these stories show us just how broken we are.

I can’t understand this logic. It doesn’t make sense to me. I need someone smarter than me to explain why my husband is sitting in jail for 8 years while these people are serving less harsh sentences. I understand that a big difference is that a lot of the cases like I mentioned above are ‘state’ cases where my husband’s and so many others fall under federal jurisdiction. If you didn’t know, many federal convictions have mandatory minimums. This means nothing matters and you get at least the mandatory minimum for whatever your charge may be. In Chris’ case it was 10 years. C

Chris was a first time offender, never been in trouble with law enforcement a single day in his life. He had over 20 character reference letters and he had a good lawyer. It didn’t matter. All that matters is the charge and mandatory minimum sentence that goes along with it. My husband did make mistakes, there is no question. He should be held responsible for his actions, there is no question.

Should he serve jail time? Maybe, but not 8 years.

I have never gone into detail about my husband’s case & I’m not sure that I will. I will say that he didn’t have a physical relationship with anyone and his charges aren’t related to computer pictures. He made a very bad decision and then was accused of some horrible things. Together those two things made for an incredibly difficult situation.

It’s a very broken system when your best option is to plead guilty to get a 10 year sentence rather than try to prove your case and risk getting a 30+ year sentence if you don’t win. And you probably won’t win. People shut down when they hear “sex offender”; details and truth don’t matter at that point.

When I first read the stories I mentioned above I was angry. I was angry at God, I was angry at those people. I was just angry. Then I realized those people made mistakes and it’s not my place to judge them. I realized those people also have family and friends that now have broken lives because of someone else’s choices. They could have spouses that are living a journey like mine. I realized there are actual real victims of their crimes that now have broken lives.

I was still angry with God.

How can he allow the things that have happened to us and let other people like those mentioned above have such an easier journey? Why does our journey have to be so hard? I was driving home last when it all hit and I had a meltdown. I was actually driving in my car in tears and yelling at God and asking him why. Why couldn’t we have got a 6 month sentence? Why didn’t God intervene at some point and stop some of this, any of this?

Why did he allow all this brokenness in my life?

Asking why doesn’t ever get me anywhere. Eventually I calmed down when the song “Just say Jesus” came on the radio & that’s exactly what I did for a good 5 minutes. I just said “Jesus” over and over. Then I prayed. Then I was okay.

The wires in my head get a little crossed when I think about the truth that God has a plan for us that includes this next 8 years. He also has a plan for the teacher who will spend 6 months in jail, and a plan for the one who will spend 6 years there. It’s just so hard to understand why his plan for us had to include this 8 years while so many others do things much worse (in the eyes of the law) than what Chris did and his plan for them includes much less punishment.

If you don’t get anything else out of this post I hope you remember this: Not everyone, in fact probably the majority, of people that are registered sex offenders never hurt and never would hurt anyone, especially a child. They didn’t go down a street and offer an 8 year candy to bride them into their dark van with no windows. Anytime you say someone is a sex offender in this society that is what people immediately think and it is just NOT TRUE. Of course there are some who did commit horrible unthinkable acts but it’s such a broken way of thinking to lump all 800,000 people on the sex offender registry into that category.

One day I hope I will no longer be able to identify with Hester Prynne.

It all just proves my point….

This world is a very broken place in need of the healing of Jesus Christ.

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