By William Blundell
I think this program (“Breaking the Cycle of Incarceration”: A Prisoner and Youth Conversation”) is a really good idea. I think that instead of doing it once in a while they should find the means to do it in high schools. That’s where they need it most. I noticed that the prisoners were talking mainly to the parents when the questions were directed at the kids. Yes, the parents have a lot to do with the kid’s environment and are responsible for their actions, but that gives the youth a gateway to act without consequence. A scapegoat, if you will.
If the youth were to see more consequence for their actions late in life maybe they will be more apt to do the right thing and think before they act. I related a lot to John Vendeville (Murder - 1st degree) and Ryan Hones (Home Invasion - 2nd degree). It was all about partying then stuff got real fast. All it takes is one wrong place at the wrong time and it is a wrap. When under the influence, I don’t care what happens to me or anybody for that matter. Hones is coming home real soon and plans on staying sober. I wish him the best of luck and I hope he’s serious. Vendeville is down for the rest of his life and has been down for 22 years due to a robbery that went wrong while drinking.
Vendeville said he drank since he was a kid and that his father drank and went to prison while he was young. I never dealt with a person close to me going to prison so I can’t relate but the fact that he’s there, I can. That could have been me if I didn’t stop drinking. With my type of attitude when I was drinking, I could’ve easily killed someone over something way less serious than robbery. Just a simple fight, all it would take is for me to hit someone the wrong way or even be hit, stabbed or shot. Then it would be all over.
When I was drunk, I was so full of negativity so that is all I got out of life because that was all I invested. Now that I’m sober I’m realizing how close I was to being one of them (in prison) on the screen.
“It is never too late to change,” is the message that I received. If I can’t or won’t change then I’ll be right back on the road to destruction. I’ve already changed a lot and have begun to grow again. I’ve done everything in my power to stay away from the path of chaos I was so used too. The change so far has not been easy but I’m not done and probably will never be. I appreciate the opportunity that I had to listen.
I was on WLNS Channel 6 News, they did a nice close up. It was weird seeing myself on television. But I’m glad that I was on the news for something positive rather than negative.
William Blundell is a community writer for The New Citizens Press. He resides in East Lansing, MI.
Editor’s note: “Breaking the Cycle of Incarceration”: A Prisoner and Youth Conversation” was held on Thursday, May 27, 2010 at Lansing Community College from 5:30 – 7:00 pm. The 400 individuals attending had an opportunity to question 5 inmates from the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia, MI via live video feed to get a sense of prison life and understand what impact sentences have on lives. Hones is scheduled for release on June 30, 2010. Vendeville is in prison for life.
This was printed in the July 4, 2010 - July 17, 2010 edition