powerless - discoveryplace

credit – discoveryplace

In another week of prompts that arose from Women’s History Month, our writers this week tackled the tough issues of aligning action with attitude. Based on the impassioned writings and intense discussion that followed reading them, this group clearly understands the division between those who have power (The System) and those who do not (Themselves).

Sadly, the all-too-familiar story of injustice rises up again and again. Paradoxically, within our circle where we support respectful listening, acceptance and individual truth, opposite experiences tumbled out from mouth and heart over and over. They shared repeated experiences of utter lack of respect and understanding throughout the system (although the women were careful to name the few CO’s with a trace of compassion for them as people); experiences that spoke again and again to utter powerlessness. To the harshest punishments being meted out for the simplest attempts to stand up for what is right and fair.

The writings were impassioned and powerful. I am proud to be able to share some of them here as well as on our partner-site, Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform.   We on the outside need to understand that life doesn’t just go into suspended animation during a prison sentence. On the contrary, for many it is a daily fight to maintain perspective and sanity. The experience can be utterly disorienting, turning on its head what we might have been taught about cause and effect. Some say it is the very purpose of incarceration to do so. Continue reading