Hi all, I am new to this network and will soon be an inmate in a federal min security prison. I am 31 years, and will have to serve 8 months; I self surrender on March 2nd to a women's camp on the East Coast (possibly Alderson in WV, but waiting on confirmation).
I am deeply spiritual and was directed to this community to seek support, and ultimately, upon release, I'd like to become more involved in the network.
My life is devoted to service and my passion in food, agriculture, technology with a focus on providing access to those who have none. My incarceration was unexpected and a result of dating a man who sold marijuana many years earlier when I was in college.
I am from WI but live in New York where I have worked at an environmental foundation. Until now I have run a national program devoted to helping people find sustainable agriculture and local/healthy food in their communities. We also published a book teaching activists, families, and farmers how to use tools on the internet which can be downloaded for free from the program's website. Email me for details if interested.
I am devastated by this experience and appalled by the injustice present in our legal system, but through total surrender, I still trust, and will offer my service wherever I go. Annihilation is excruciating, but also lined with grace.
I'm hoping to make as many contacts/connections as possible in these next few weeks before I am incarcerated and lose access to internet communication. While in prison, I would love to join or help start a meditation/prayer group at the institution, if allowed, and stay connected to this network.
With deep gratitude, Destin
(destinjoy (@) gmail.com)
Hello Destin, I read your post with a heartfelt sense that you will make the most of your time in prison. Having a strong practice will benefit you along with anyone you are in contact with. I include you in my prayers and hope that you can find a deeper experience of your true nature while you are in the federal facility. Wishing you the best with starting or joining a meditation group. Take good care while you are there. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us. Kate
My name is Courtney, I am originally from Canada though I live in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico now. My very good friend is serving a 9 year sentence in Ohio and we have been writing back and forth and talking on the phone a lot, though I haven't heard from him lately. I've learned enough from him to know that anything can happen in there to stop the calls and the letters for a while, and it's happened before. Prior to him going to prison, I really never thought about it, but once he was locked up I started reading so I could understand his situation better. A world of suffering was suddenly brought to my attention and since then I have been no less than obsessed with prison issues. My bookshelves are filled with any publication that has even the slightest relation to prison (always welcoming new suggestions!).
I have become focused on two subjects in particular, wrongful convictions and the death penalty. A while back I started a web site called Walkalone, and wrote to death row inmates all over the USA. Some wrote back and I started to post their writings, however, I became very fond of one of them in particular and it began to sink in slowly that he was going to be, in essence, murdered one day. I couldn't continue with the blog, it was simply too upsetting. It is still up, here: http://walkalones.blogspot.com/
Since then I have been trying to find a way in which I can live in the USA as a Canadian and volunteer for anything to do with prison really. Of course, my ultimate dream would be to work with the Innocence Project.
I am not a Buddhist, but I am very spiritual and love the teachings of Buddhism. I am so glad I found this site - realizing there is a whole community out there who cares about similar things, it's great!
My name is Lyn and I am just beginning this and I truly hope to be of service. I am going to look around and pick up what I can on the site and then start asking my rookie questions. I just wanted to introduce myself. thanks, L
As you can see my name is Jared and until last Friday I was a recipient of your, and many others', prison dharma work.
While I was in prison I was able to teach myself the basics of C++, Java, PHP, VA and VBA for MS Access, and web development. So, in order to give back I'm going to take my reference list(s) that I gathered over my six years and build a searchable web database interface that I can maintain easily enough via sort of automated scripts.
Jared, welcome. I want to express my wholehearted support of your attitude about "giving back." You are now at such a crucial point in your life. I hope you will be able to stay centered; breathe, let things happen around you, and let go. I imagine there will be plenty of challenges during your re-entry. May I suggest you locate a sangha that you can attend? I know often post-prison time is dictated by parole/probation requirements. Know that your fellow dharma-path walkers include you in their hopes and hugs.
A new friend referred me to Prison Dharma Network because she knew I was looking for a way to connect with others who have an interest in prison activism/ministry and also to figure out the best way for me to somehow serve. I have no experience with this community, though I am active in volunteering here in the Phoenix area with refugee services as well as those benefiting the homeless. Though I'm not qualified as a Dharma practitioner for the mentoring program, I was hoping to at least find a penpal program where I could connect with anyone in need of encouragement. At this time, I have been unable to locate a nondenominational ministry that is in need of volunteers here in the Phoenix area, but that doesn't stop me from feeling a pull in this direction, so I continue to look for opportunities because I believe everyone needs to feel valued.
I was very excited to learn about the book donation program and plan on contributing to that regularly, as I know how big of an impact a book can have on one's mental/emotional/spiritual outlook.
Very much looking forward to learning more from those of you with a wealth of knowledge here.
Thanks for letting me briefly introduce myself,
Years ago I sat at Rutledge prison here in GA with our local Zen group. Having a young family I was too restricted to keep it up, but the needs of prisoners is something I feel strongly about. I had the privelege of doing a weekend retreat with Fleet last winter, so maybe it's in the cards. I did a series of sitting groups at a teen group home near my house, that was an opportunity to "see what happens". It went well overall. There were a couple kids that were unruly and seemed curious as to why I didn't threaten to kick them out. It took over a half hour, but eventually the group was able to stop fidgeting, giggling, poking, etc. to finally just sit and listen quietly for maybe 30 seconds. It was nice. So now I am promoting my new professional practice of aquaponics, which would have some great value in prison, so if you want to know more, pls check out our website at http://aquaplanetonline.com
Hello, my name is Suzie and I happen to be married to Jared. First of all i would like to thank those of you who assisted him and myself while he was in prison. You were all a very helpful bunch that assisted me when i didn't know which way was up! Thank you again. Due to the helpfulness i feel called to help the other inmates who are here in southwest Mississippi and south east Louisiana. Any help or direction would be appreciated.
I am relativity new to the study of Dharma and Buddhism on the whole but I am learning with the help of the internet and books that my husband has pointed me towards. I might have plenty of questions :)