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By Josh Dolmage
On Thursday, November 19, four inmates from the Winfield Correctional Facility gave a presentation in Mossman Hall.
“The only thing that my dad taught me was how to rob and kill people,” said Jeff, an inmate at the Winfield Correctional facility.
The presentation was called, “Reaching Out from Within.” Due to legality issues, the full names of the inmates were not given. However, they did not hold anything back when telling their stories and the consequences that resulted from the choices they have made.
Kenny has been incarcerated for 31 years and is serving a life sentence for first degree murder. “I was 16 at the time and I was making stupid decisions. I kept getting caught up with the wrong people. I got into drugs and to me, shooting cocaine was fun. When I was doped up on cocaine, one of my buddies killed someone and blamed it on me. The next time I saw him, I shot him. That’s how I ended up in jail,” said Kenny.
Another inmate, Carl, received five years of jail time after he shot someone. With just 13 months left of his sentence, Carl said, “Prison is like the best thing to happen to me. It has helped me to get an education and it helped me to get into God’s word. I was around a bunch of messed up people before and I thought that I didn’t have anything to look forward to. I wouldn’t recommend prison for anyone else, but it helped me.”
Jeff, also known as “Porkchop” to the other inmates, has spent the last 19 and one half years in prison after he was convicted of second degree murder. “Everyone in this room has to make the right choices. You are all making good choices right now because you chose to go to college, but just be careful of the choices you make in the future,” said Jeff.
After being convicted of drug trafficking, Chris received a 13-year prison sentence. He has 21 months left in his sentence. “I was never a bad guy. I had a close family growing up and I am married. I owned my own trucking company. I even went to a community college after graduating from high school. Some people got me into meth and marijuana. I never tried it before that, but I really believe that meth is the most addictive drug. I got caught growing my own weed and got 13 years for it. I think it’s too much time for a first offense, but there’s nothing I can do about it. As soon as I get out, I am going to find a good church to go to,” said Chris.
Allen Twitchell, resident director of Wallingford Hall set up the presentation as a way to show how the choices we make now, can affect us later. “Making wrong choices can cost you your freedom. I think this presentation was helpful because Southwestern is a transition to adulthood for many young men. I was hoping more people would show up and I tried to encourage a lot of Wallingford residents to show. I didn’t really know what to expect. I was happy that more than just a couple of people showed up,” said Twitchell.
Twitchell is hoping to have the “Reaching Out from Within” presentation back on campus next semester. “With the time of the presentation, maybe people just couldn’t make it. I would really like to have the group back next semester if people are willing to show up. I think it is a very helpful presentation,” said Twitchell.
Josh Dolmage is a junior majoring in communication. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.