We All Have a Story to Share

Why would a professional engineer and a registered nurse co-author a book about the good things that happen in prison?

More than ten years ago, inspired by two inmates, one in Oklahoma and another in Delaware, we were summoned to begin volunteering in prison.

We came to the realization that we all have stories—including inmates.

We have seen and heard about personal accounts of the transforming power of kindness and compassion that, every now and then, becomes a channel to forgiveness, change and freedom.

Today, with more than two million men, women and children behind bars in the United States, correctional facilities continue to proliferate and the vicious cycle of crime, imprisonment and recidivism seems unstoppable. Although the countless factors that contribute to this dilemma are not the focus in this text, they do affect everyone.

We all journey through life together, struggling to discover a meaningful purpose to our existence. During this journey, we all make choices, decisions and mistakes. No one is perfect. Most of us receive help along the way, when we need it most. And, once in a while, we have the rewarding opportunity to repay the favor by giving someone else a helping hand.

Society can benefit and learn from these personal accounts of benevolence. Stories from the inside can illuminate the darkest of places, providing inspiration, insight and, we hope, a call to action. You are invited to read and reflect on these stories through the eyes of the authors and to be inspired to help make our world a better place.

A view from inside the barbed wire sheds light on the need for treatment, continued education and the learning of a trade by the inmates. Helping inmates become productive members of our society requires joint effort—everyone’s working together to create successful solutions.

Our objectives for writing and compiling stories for this book are threefold. First and foremost we want to give inmates hope. To empower prisoners to do as much good as they can in their current environment by providing constructive examples of what others have accomplished under similar circumstances.

Our second objective is to encourage prison administrators and staff to allow more programs to be brought into correctional facilities. We can all work together, as a team, to facilitate the rehabilitation of inmates and build their self-esteem, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will succeed—both inside the prison walls, as well as on the outside upon their release.

Our last objective is to express appreciation and gratitude to everyone who volunteers behind bars and to encourage others to follow in their footsteps so that they too can reap rich emotional and spiritual rewards.

Inmates, prison staff members, loved-ones of those who are incarcerated, victims and volunteers can all make a significant difference and have a positive impact toward a more peaceful world.

So, why would a professional engineer and a registered nurse co author a book about the good things that happen in prison? The only logical answer is far from logical—it radiates from the heart and soul. We answered the call and we continue to respond.

Yes, we all have a story to tell. The challenge is to listen—and take positive action.

Source: Written by Laura Lagana and Tom Lagana from the Introduction to Serving Time, Serving Others 

Resources: The Inside Circle , Other Resources

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