My Last Attempt at Parole
My situation had completely changed since my previous attempt at parole.
My parent’s recent move to Omaha would allow me to move in with them, so I changed my destination from Connecticut to Omaha. My grandfather’s offer to live with him was gracious, and I was extremely thankful. It just made more sense to move in with my parents.
My father had enrolled me in Cosmetology school which covered the part about being a productive member of society. Having completed more than fifty percent of my five year sentence should have fulfilled the deterrent and retributive part of my confinement. There was no real reason to think that I would not be paroled this time.
Making parole this time was really important to me. My goal was to be released before my twenty-third birthday which was in September. If I didn’t make it, my release would be closer to the end of the year.
Even though my confidence level was high, after being turned down the last time, I couldn’t rule out the possibility of another denial. As I headed to my parole board, prepared for either decision, I felt a sense of peace. Once again, I sat in a waiting room anticipating hearing my name, when it was my turn.
An inmate who had just finished his board came through the door. There was no emotion on his face so I could not gage how it went for him. I heard someone from inside shout, “Trustee Mike, please come in.”
As I headed over to the solitary chair sitting in front of the board members’ table, I quickly surveyed the board members. Sitting on the other side of the table there were three soldiers in their combat uniforms. One of them I recognized from the last time as the Major who was in charge. They were all smiling and seemed friendly.
Standing at attention I stated, “Trustee Mike reporting as ordered, Sirs.”
They told me to take a seat. The initial questions were about my conviction. The board wanted to know if I was remorseful for my crimes. They also wanted to know what I had done up to this point to change. The list of rehabilitation classes I had taken was longer than before. There weren’t any more that were related to my crime that I could take, however, I did continue to attend the Narcotics Anonymous classes each week.
The level of disappointment I had for letting down myself, my family, the Army and God was so strong that I could not fully convey it in words. I couldn’t help but wonder, if these soldiers looked at me with the same disgrace I had for myself. The oath that I took to defend this country against all enemies foreign and domestic was thrown out the window when my choices placed me on the other side of that oath. With all my heart and soul, I did my best to explain that I was truly sorry.
They asked me some questions about my family and what my relationship with my parents was like. They asked if I had a job lined up or a backup plan for income that would keep me from relapsing back into my criminal behavior. It really helped that I had the support of my family to assist me with any challenges I would face. Not everyone who comes to the board has that kind of support upon release. With everything I had going for me outside these walls, I knew I would never be back.
After we were done talking, they thanked me and told me I was dismissed.
In their faces, I could see that they wanted to believe me. There was a glimmer of hope in their eyes when they looked at me. But, how many times had someone sat in this same chair, said all the exact same things, was released on parole and then came back inside the walls in a matter of months?
Many could not cope with the lack of structure when leaving the walls. Others could not fight the demons that brought them here in the first place. Some just wanted to come back because life inside was better to them than the life outside. Not everyone had the privilege of going home to a loving family. Some of these guys joined the military to escape their former life. Poverty, oppressive homes, places of no hope, going back would be worse than staying.
Because of this, I could understand the reservations the board might have with granting parole to someone like me. Last time it took about a month for me to get my results.
So there was nothing left for me to do, but wait.