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"My Point: People Can Change"       By: John Dukes

May 25, 2017

 

 

 

5/10/17

 

Dear Vivett,

 

School went well tonight (three more credits 😁). Thank God for that!!! Nonetheless, I was thinking about our marriage and how people don't realize my love for you. I know you're investing in me, and I think outsiders (other people) view our marriage like that. People only see your side, Vivett, because they're viewing us from your lens. However, I have standards, as well. Oftentimes I've told you in cnversation, "I'm worth it." Of course I don't mean it in an arrogant way either. I just know my worth and my worth is not all about me being in prison. Quite the contrary. 

 

 

 

I remember speaking to a brother in here and saying, "Don't prove the haters right by disrespecting your wife/family when you're released from prison because if you don't, all you'll be saying is that you're not worth it." Vivett, too many people think they're playing people who actually care for them. I just like reminding brothers that when they are dishonest with their wife or someone who believes in them, they're saying that they're not worth it. Again, I'm worth it. Belle...

 

Another misconception about men in prison is that we don't care about our families. I care about my family. I love our children and I like being married to you, Vivett. I've missed so many moments with Alexis and I constantly think about her.

 

Most men in here with children have limited contact with their children. Sadly to say, the children's other parent or guardian usually forbid weekend visits in the Family Reunion Program (F.R.P.). F.R.P. visits consist of spending one weekend every few months together in a single-wide, two-bedroom trailer on separate grounds of the prison facility. It's a great way to bond considering the reality of prison. You get a chance to cook, eat, and speak more freely together. 

 

My story is no different, Vy. Because Alexis couldn't bring herself up here, I had to wait for other people to drive her. Surprisingly and thankfully, we've managed to build and maintain a strong relationship, all things considered. Being a father in prison is rough, especially when you love your child.

 

Although I committed a horrible crime, it doesn't mean that I'm not fit to be a father or be a meaningful part of my child's life. Believe me -- I understand my punishment, but don't punish the child. That's why I can't stress this enough: Men in prison need to be honorable for themselves and prove their worth, prove that we are loving and supportive. 

 

 

Unfortunately, there are more men in here confused and hurting. The reality is that it's not easy finding a man, especially in places like prison. Nevertheless, don't give up on these males. They are just broken. I feel like if I can change and do right, others can do the same. Society makes a big mistake by not giving a prisoner a chance. People change and education makes a difference for the better in an individual's life. I came into prison with basic education and now I'm in college earning a degree.

 

Honestly, reading books while incarcerated and taking time to think definitely matured me in ways I've never known. In fact, these habits led me to my spiritual walk. My point: People Can Change! 

 

I'm more present with my feelings and my intentions. I have control over me. Higher education and your love, Vivett Dukes, has truly helped my growth. I love you, sweetheart. 

 

Love,

Your husband,

 

John

 

 

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