Journal Entry: Andres Alejandr Freyre-03/16/2024

Journal Entry

Things have been getting better and better since dropping security levels to this minimum facility. I have been able to be much more productive with my school work and exercise routine. Before, in the low and medium facilities I was at, much of my time was spent waiting on controlled movements every hour. Often times they wouldn’t even call them or they would call them early/late which would throw off any sort of routine I tried to establish. Being here is one of the biggest blessings I’ve gotten since entering the system. I’m thankful that I was able to avoid the trouble that seemed to be always around the corner at the higher security prisons, which gave me the ability to work myself down to minimum security.
As far as my progress in school goes, I recently finished a criminology class that I was taking and am now working on a social research methods class where i will write a mock research proposal. I plan on researching the link between adverse childhood experiences and addiction. I’m also close to finishing my required science credits for my degree as well. On top of all my progress with school, education/psychology staff has approached me recently to help organize the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People class here at the minimum camp. As I have experience teaching this class and have personally seen how it is usually run at other facilities, and being a certified instructor, I am excited to begin this new project.

Aside from all the good things though, I have had a sad reminder of the consequences of my incarceration recently. These moments come up sometimes and are kind of like a reality check. I spoke to my father today, who is back home in Colorado. We speak often and I love him dearly. He has always been there supporting me through my entire life in the best ways he knows how. He’s just about in his 80’s now, has survived cancer, covid, and my crazy antics as well. It has recently been dumping snow in Colorado. We have a huge yard back at home and it’s necessary to clear the snow if you plan on going anywhere. He just answered the phone breathing a bit heavily from shoveling the snow little bits at a time, in shifts. When he told me this, I instantly realized that it should be me doing this work. He has taken care of me for so long and now that I have the opportunity to help give back, I am locked in prison. My family needs me, but I am stuck, still suffering the consequences of my mistakes. These are the true pains of imprisonment. Sure, being stuck with a bunch of strangers in an oppressive and violent environment (in higher security prisons) sucks. Living in a small bathroom with another adult man sucks. Being told when and where to do everything from eating to using the bathroom sucks. Having little to no contact with the opposite sex sucks. But one adapts to those things. I’ve seen people experience joy in here. I have seen laughter and happiness within these walls. It is very difficult (probably impossible) to stop a human being from experiencing these things no matter where you put them. We are well-equipped to adapt to even the worst situations. Victor Frankl is one of the best examples. But what I find it impossible for me to adapt to is the fact that my responsibilities as a son and a brother are not being accomplished. These are the little things that I will never be able to get back. I can completely redeem myself to society, which I am working hard to do, and turn everything around for myself, but these moments of helping, these opportunities to show my gratitude to a father that has done so much for me, won’t ever be there again. These are the truly meaningful things that we miss out on while being incarcerated.

These are the toughest obstacles to overcome in an experience like this. All the little extra efforts by the prison staff to make things harder or the structure of the prison designed to dehumanize as a punishment are laughable in comparison to the things we miss out on from being in here. The natural consequences of our mistakes are the worst ones. This is what I’ll remember when reflecting on the pains of my imprisonment. It’s a sad reality, but it motivates me and reinforces my commitment to doing the right things. The types of things that require a strong character and don’t have consequences, but rather create results. I have created many negative consequences with my decisions, not only for myself but for those around me as well. This motivates me even more to make sure that everything I do from now on has as many positive results as possible. It drives me to be the best person I can be now because there’s a lot of time to make up for. It is now my responsibility to make sure that something good comes from this experience. There is always a silver lining to everything, even when it seems hopeless to even try to find one.