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Thinking about the future and more

caines | 8/16/2012, 5:30 a.m.

Imagine someone who was suddenly been released back into society after spending a large number of years subject to prison authority and continuous authoritative commands, such as what time to have their bunk made, when to eat chow, when to shower, how to dress, when not to talk, when it is permissible to watch television and what time they must go to bed - what would it take for that person to abandon the psychological conditioning associated with dwelling in a prison abode and succeed at becoming a productive member of a community where the freedom to exercise authority over their persona life is broadly given? Success would probably depend on whether that individual had put some thought into restructuring their life in a positive way long before they had been set free. In between times of becoming adapt to a prison commitment, a prisoner who is expecting to be released someday will occasionally encounter moments when racy images of being free again will travel wondrously through their mind. Those images that appeal most to the prisoner will serve as the basis for formulating a game plan of future life activities, each inspiring thought being reflected throughout the pages of the prisoners futuristic playbook. Although life is surely not a sporting event, most people would like for their lives to move in a direction that would lead them to achieving some type of victory. A fair-and-square winning of a materialized thought is usually the result of positive thinking, while a dishonorable achievement - the kind of shenanigans that always seem to hit the fan at some later date - is deeply rooted in diabolical ruminations. Acting upon thoughts towards the future can sometimes set us back even further than from where we are today, particularly if our moral compass is not guiding to a path of upright living. What I have found to be true is the fact that is customary for those who map-out their future with a strong sense of moral scruples to not only think in terms of what the future holds for them alone, but also how the decision to pursue a vision will effect the future of their loved ones, friends, associates, community and the world as a whole. Understandably, even after years of planning and having countless europhobic thoughts about the future, one of the inescapable adverse effects of long term confinement that most prisoners still face before being released is having the underlying fear of what life outside of the prison will bring them: not knowing whether they will return to the same pitfalls that brought them to prison in the prison in the first place or whether they will succeed at hurdling the many obstacles that will certainly stand in their way. And as the last grains of the sand slowly trickle down the hourglass, the unretrievable years wasted in prison will start to weigh down heavily on upon the psyche of a soon-to-be releasee, and made up mental images of the possible changes in society that await them will cause the pitapat in their heart to quicken even more. Once free, culture shock will immediately smack them hard in the face, and if they are not full of focus, the reality of lagging behind others in society can cause a previously well-thought out strategy to waver and ultimately derail off track. Dishonest thoughts of playing a game of catch up the fast and risque way will become their own enemy and high recidivism numbers will once again be testamonial to the fact that underhanded thinking can never be a safe, enduring blue print to building a prosperous future. By Arthur Lee Hall, Jr.