Post #17.007

Expectations and Justifications

My Identity Jerell Arterberry: Southwestern Correctional Center - IL

I was released from prison 8/21/09, after 4½ years of incarceration. The prison van transported me to a train station, where I then got on an Amtrak train headed toward Union Station in Chicago. The first thing I did was visit my daughter. My first meal was a gyro plate. I paroled to a … halfway house. I had no money those first few days but I did have resources, and they helped. When I was first released I was a changed man. I was very optimistic about the future. I was ready to be there for my daughter, and my family. Prison had changed me for the better, even though I had no support from family or friends. I forgave everybody because my main objective as a free man was being a father. When I went to sleep my first night out I was happy just to be out. More than anything I was focused on being a father. I looked forward to the future. On my third day out, my mother and aunt took me out. I felt connected and supported by them. My baby mother’s family made me feel like an outcast whenever I was around them. They did support me and helped me get my first job, but I always felt tolerated by them. The halfway house I paroled to had a bed bug infestation. I was bitten hundreds of times. I was forced to stay there because of the way parole works. I was very upset because I thought my health would be a priority. Weeks later I moved in with my baby’s mother and daughter. I had a job within the first week I was out. I also had a side job landscaping and rehabbing houses. Fatherhood was a very rewarding and gratifying experience for me. I enjoyed every second of it. Me and my baby’s mother had different parenting views. She was the go with the flow type. I was the organized, stern parent. This eventually caused a rift between us (among other things). I tried to build a relationship based on us being parents. This was a mistake. You can’t build anything without trust. Unrealistic expectations, coupled with different views and goals was a recipe for disaster. I hate confrontation so I just tried to avoid it all together. So I put all me attention into my daughter and my job. My baby’s mother eventually cheated on me with a woman. I was hurt. I responded without any thought. I moved out, quit my job, and started my criminal lifestyle all over again. I had all of these justifications that made my choices alright with me. Everybody deals with hurt and depression differently. I dealt with it by rebelling against the system and going back to what was familiar to me. Making my own rules. working my own hours, and being a bachelor was comfortable for me. Not having to answer to anyone and also not being vulnerable to anyone was ideal for me at that time. My daughter remained my first priority, but I lost sight of what was most important, which was being there in the physical form. I started spending more money because the lifestyle made me have time constraints. Needless to say the lifestyle led to me being incarcerated for a very long time. I had a high profile case that was covered in the media. 35 years at 85% was the plea bargain that was on the table. I fought and got it broke down. I settled for 19 years at 50%. I’ve been gone 7 years 3 months. I’ve lost a lot of family members and people I considered friends, but I guess not to death. Let me explain. When you’re incarcerated for an extended period of time you either grow together or you grow apart.