Prison journalism

Jeffrey Shockley is a writer serving a life sentence in the State Correctional Institution-Fayette in Pennsylvania.
Image: Pixabay

Prison journalism: Time never defined

Jeffrey Shockley is a writer serving a life sentence in the State Correctional Institution-Fayette in Pennsylvania.

Prison journalism

Jeffrey Shockley is a writer serving a life sentence in the State Correctional Institution-Fayette in Pennsylvania.
Image: Pixabay

Isn’t it funny how time is never quite defined by the present, past or future? When you move past the present constraints of time, the future is just out of reach for each of the possibilities wanted, leaving life haunted by a yesterday that often hides inside the mind from all of the time wasted by poor choices and bad decisions


A life spent seeking revisions on each moment spent chasing, ducking and dodging that man of God we were meant to be, but dare not to see for fear that it may be too late to see the growth in me, the maturity cast back in some mirror of time that is never quite defined that only He can see, that I want to be free. 

Who… am I as I try to reach that peak of perfection that is mere perception without a reflection on the God that is able to be within me? Why try to be what others  perceive, that society never believes me to be when only God knows the pains I to have gone through, doing all I can do to be more than what I’m used to? 

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What.. can I do that others may see in me that color of light that is so bright not to reflect the mistake of yesterday but the Christ in me today? As I have tried not to be beside that man of yesterday in any way because he got me here. Can you see the pain not from my own life but the life lost at some senseless cost no one should ever be made to pay? Now dare it be asked to love me in spite of that memory haunting the reality, reliving the tragedy put upon by that lost soul a whole lifetime ago that even I no longer know? 

When.. do you become better than what you once were if you’re still afraid of making some mistake that got you here because there remains such a rage coupled with an emptiness that gnaws so deep it can’t be reached? When the only release is to fantasize about some times that never were and yet wanted all the more and more as that is what you tell yourself in a wealth of mixed lies you try to hide behind when so much has been done no amount of time can make it better without Christ beside that guy you now want to be in a time that is never quite defined. 

ALSO READ: Prison Journalism: ‘Dear Momma’: A letter with all the things I should have said

Where.. does the mind go when the future is all you have and that lasts but for a moment as you realize this future is no more than some dream? Or today it only seems like life as you try to love right within your own mind tormented by the lasting of time now only defined by the probability of death for the second time. What is life

but for a sentence of time combined with the pains sustained from a life of yesterday that always leads to a today when you awake just one more time no longer wanting to get away from it all for today it is on Christ you call. For it is only in Him can we get through it at all. 

ALSO READ: Prison journalism: How to endure the winters of a life sentence

How… can I call myself a man of any kind when in this time the only thing there is, is the existence in a 10′ X 12′ cell that at times is no worse than hell as each day is lived just over and over again in the same place with the same faces staring back. Where it is now by no surprise to realize just how precious and valuable life truly is when you miss the kids that were not quite your own but in the same home we all did live in spite of the addict this dad was. As they gave you love just because and today you cry as you try to remember what it was like to hold them in your arms as that protector… when you were there in a time never quite defined.

The article was facilitated by Erin Parish from the Human Kindness Foundation (HKF).

The Human Kindness Foundation’s mission is to encourage more kindness in the world beginning with people in our prisons and jails.

HKF has published several books including: We’re All Doing Time, Lineage and Other Stories, Deep and Simple, and Just Another Spiritual Book and provide these books for free to people currently serving time in prisons or jails.

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