The divorce rate among couples where one spouse is incarcerated for one year or more is 80 percent for men and close to 100 percent for women. I am that statistic.
I would never be the "popular" girl in school, and I would never be the girl that the "Popular" girls would want in their circle. I was different; maybe I came off a little weird. I was "soiled" and was embarrassed and confused by being exposed and having my sexuality awakened as a little girl by the man who was supposed to be my protector. Could my peers those Popular girls I observed from the sidelines who I was enamored with by the beauty that their confidence brought out of them could they see the dirty secrets I was forced to carry inside of me? Was I the weirdo that at times was the topic of unkind conversation and laughter in their exclusive group? It would take a lot of living life and many experiences well into adulthood that I would recognize that I was more than my sexuality and more than that little girl with shameful secrets.
Haven't most of us had that feeling of a massive lead ball sitting in our stomach stagnant and, at the same time 300 pounds of dead weight sitting on our chest where the heaviness will settle in with our broken heart as we struggle to decide if we even want to breathe again.
Four years ago, I could not have told you what was compassionate release. It was a few months after my husband reported to federal prison on July 5, 2016, that I learned of compassionate release by watching a video that FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums) had posted. The video is called 5 to life: Compassionate Release. After watching the video, I had not only tears streaming down my face, but I had a deep ache in my heart, almost like I had lost a loved one. The video portrays a man incarcerated for wire fraud. While incarcerated, he is diagnosed with cancer. We watch the family fight and struggle with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to bring this husband and father home to die with dignity and amongst family. Until the First Step Act Passed on December 21, 2018, the BOP (Bureau of Prisons) was the gatekeeper of compassionate release. Filing for compassionate release was a long and arduous process that, if denied by the BOP, there was no recourse. Between 2013 and 2017, the BOP approved only 6% of the 5400 applications received for compassionate release. Most died alone in prison, just as the gentleman in the video.