The Parole Board – Case Study #3

The clink-clink noise of the cell is deafening!

I have gotten used to it after 5 years, 60 months, 1826.25 days, 2,628,000 minutes, I’m going to change my life this time.

I know I’ve said this to you God the last time and the other time and the time before that.

I’m going to do everything it takes to stay free!

My name is Noah Ortega I’m a 53 year old Hispanic male, I’m a 3-time felon and this time I’ve been convicted of burglary.

I suspect when my mother named me Noah she didn’t predict I would become a crack head felon.

My cell opens and it’s the CO coming to get me to face the parole board.

I hold my hands out through the bars for him to handcuff me like the animal they think I am, maybe I am an animal.

They open the cell and hand cuff my ankles too, because an animal can’t be trusted.  

I shuffle down the long cement floor, I’ve mastered this walk.

I walk into a large room with 6 agents sitting at a long table with one chair in front of them.

I sit.

I analyze them to see what my chances are.

Four men, one African American, one Hispanic and two Caucasian men.

There are two women who are Caucasian, I’m really doomed!

I do my assessment of them.

They don’t waste any time, they ask me, Mr. Ortega are you guilty?

Have you been rehabilitated?

Yes, you dumb fuck!

Is what my brain says but as gently as I can I say, I am and I feel terrible about the crimes I’ve committed and I’m ready to start fresh, this time away has rehabilitated me.

That’s what they want to hear, that I’ve been rehabilitated.

I said what I had to say and was shuffled out as I walked step by step trying not to fall with the limited space the chains give me at my ankles.  

I had to admit to the parole board that my burglary days were over and they are.

No more smoking crack!

45 days later, I walk out the jail.

The gates look huge as they slowly open.

My journey starts and I feel hopeful.

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