Jermane’s Journal gives the reader a unique insight into a prisoner’s life. In Jermane’s case, a wrongfully convicted prisoner’s life.
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Endurance: the ability to endure an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.
As I sit in this cell thinking about the years that have come and gone, sometimes I wonder where it has all gone to.
I could write a very condensed version of the 22/23 years I have been incarcerated, but what good would that do the people of society, or the young man/woman who at this very moment is faced with a decision on whether to do right or wrong.
Are there any 22/23-year-old’s reading this journal entry right now? If so, just think about this: you weren’t even born when I was arrested for this crime. I was 19-years-old when I was arrested: now I am 41-years-old—meaning I have spent more birthdays, Christmases, and Thanksgiving holidays in prison, then I have spent free.
Here is another perspective, and something I never even consciously thought of until recently. I have not held another persons hand in the entire time I have been in prison. I have not given a hug, or been hugged in the entire time I have been in prison. Imagine the lack of a human touch for over 2 decades.
It is a known fact that the lack of human touch can be the difference between life and death from the moment we are born. I remember the simple times when I used to walk my brothers and sisters to school holding their hand, and how they used to just be so secure in themselves knowing their big brother would keep them safe by holding their hand on the way to school. I used to say to them: you’re older now, there is no need for you to hold my hand: and do you know what I am thinking today? I wish I could hold their hand now—or any hand of a loved one. I will even go as far as to admit this: I wish someone would just hold my hand right now, and just tell me everything will be alright.
It is simple gestures like holding ones hand that could chase away thoughts of suicide, and the feelings of being a burden to our loved ones.
Can you imagine the difference holding hands could make on a prisoner—instead of carrying the weight of cold steel handcuffs?
Picture this: from the 22-years of constantly being handcuffed, I now will forever have the indentation and discoloration on my wrists of the handcuff screws from their constant wearing. Holding my hand would not have caused that to happen to my wrists: and for the record, I am not just speaking about the cold steel physical handcuffs. The mental handcuffs are also in place.
Imagine enduring that as an innocent person.
There are so many things that I realise I have missed or not experienced yet. Just think that in this day and age, I have never Googled anything in my life. Heck, when I lost my freedom, phone booths were on every corner, and now they are obsolete.
And Alexa: who is she ,the girl down the road? 🙂
But the most damning thing I have missed out on is the opportunity to be a father, brother; uncle to the many young kids that have been born since my incarceration. I just want the choice of being able to experience such a wonder. As we are well aware time stops for no one, and as I spoke about the many young people that have been born, that are my relatives, I still have to include the many relatives that are no longer alive, and how I am only left with the memory of those people .
Oh, I could prattle on for ages about a decent home cooked meal. The meal itself would be of little importance, as long as it isn’t processed, and the food is hot. Or being able to cook meals with fresh ingredients. It’s the things I took for granted that I daydream about. I’m sorry, but when I get home, the first thing I am going to do is go to the refrigerator, open the door, and just stand there soaking in the fact that I can do it (hold a refrigerator door open.) Sounds childish, but I am going to do it. I am sure I will be yelled at, but one must indulge oneself after so many years of being imprisoned.
I will never take such regular every day things like holding hands, or holding open a refrigerator door for granted again, because I have been deprived of that—and a whole lot more.
And that is the endurance I have been dealing with for 22+ years of my life as an innocent man.
I will conclude this journal entry with one request. Let us make a difference in some innocent person’s life, and start a new initiative called, #holdmyhand. One moment of compassion can bring about a lifetime of happiness.
Still enduring, Jermane Scott.
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