Dear Chad Page (Chief of Prisons):
Morning reflections, pen in hand: I thought I’d drop you a line.
We are in receipt of your memo at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution — the one about the brewing. All have agreed: the alcohol situation is out of control. We were moved that you would acknowledge this by limiting our sugar purchases. Some have gone so far as to say you’ve provided a beacon of hope.
I am speaking personally now, as an inmate having recently succumbed to his own demons — dirty rotten tricksters, they are. I come forward, stepping beyond accepting responsibility for the possession of alcohol, with a request to use my new qualifications in helping you tackle this problem head-on.
A little about myself: Patrick, Alcoholic. I never struggled with alcoholism before. This is all new to me. It is heavy with burden that I acknowledge a djinn has attached itself to my most intimate vulnerabilities. I’m here today because I’ve heard rumours among us: A treatment does exist!
The whispers describe a system that requires the helping of others to help yourself. True, it sounds of magic. But it comes of grace, not of demons.
Allow me to demonstrate by summonsing an alternate future before your very eyes: Behold! I have arrived, willing and able to actively participate in recovery. Here I am, and here I will be. Know that mine isn’t enough, I must cast the spell on you as well.
That’s it, Chief. That’s all it takes.
I happen to know this because we’ve been squirreling bits and pieces of contraband materials describing some “12 Steps,” in hopes that we can honour both our victims and our families in our making a reasonable attempt to seek rehabilitation.
I have taken the liberty of presenting you with options of costly efficiency (not a typo, we’re talking taxpayer money), issue them at your behest.
It pains me to note that upon receiving my disciplinary notification for alcohol problems, my requests that I be provided information related to alcoholism were not tolerated by my Case Manager or your Medical Provider. The Medical Provider was completely unresponsive to my needing treatment information for this behavioural disorder — the same one that is commonly referred to as a disease. I wasn’t even scheduled an appointment to assess if there was an actual medical need. It was the Case Manager that informed me I don’t qualify by Idaho Department Of Correction standards to receive the benefits of alcohol-related therapeutic treatment at IMSI. Clearly, there is a lot going on here — choose your own adventure!
Not to be discouraged, I performed my own research. I discovered a volunteer-ran group that only requires a meeting room, some free literature and a minimal of two alcoholics. Because they are clandestine in nature, it is likely you are not aware they have already infiltrated all of your facilities. Any member of this Anonymous organization will volunteer to step out of the shadows and go on the record in stating: In addition to restricting the inmates’ sugar intake, providing a meeting of the Anonymous variety may offer a healthy supplement to those actively suffering from substance abuse issues.
I know what you’re thinking: “Mr. Irving, Esq., you have ten years left until Board. Your behaviourals are likely to cure themselves in said amount of time. Should they not, tackling them six months prior your release shall have to suffice.”
To which I offer: Not treating my behaviourals during my incarceration’s entirety does nothing to establish a pattern of resistance against a lifelong history of poor decision-making. It also doesn’t assist in Correctionsing behaviors the Board expects me to discontinue before they’ll even consider me for parole.
I find there are obvious advantages in helping inmates learn about good decisions when they first arrive in prison, not moments before you release them back into the wild.
Let us now break from the radical for a brief discussion of issues Constitutional.
My friend and I watch every week as our unit neighbors are picked up from their cells to be scrubbed free of sin on Sundays. We are left on the sad side of our windows, chosen by your staff to remain in eternal damnation.
My mother talks to God every weekend, she says there is plenty of room in Heaven and Jesus intended to offer the Lord’s grace to everyone, not just the Soft Walks at our facility. You’re right in that they need forgiveness for all their despicabilities much, much more than we do. But you can only polish a turd so much, and we’d really like to chop it up with Yahweh at least once this year.
I’m not asking much, just for you to kindly address these issues. I’d prefer to direct my focus towards items more pressing.
In friendship and incarceration,
Patrick Irving 82431