Hurricane Worries in the Federal prison camp

In the recent aftermath of Hurricane Gustav and now Hurricane Ike hitting the Texas coast I felt the need to post this article about the hurricane worries that inmates deal with in prison.

I was still an inmate in Pollock federal prison camp when Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita hit the coast line in 2005. Therefore having an accurate account of what each inmate saw, heard and talked about each day. Pollock being close to Alexandria, LA meant a lot of inmates from the surrounding coastline and a number of them from New Orleans.

The main worry for each inmate was not for themselves but for their families. This was a time where each inmate truly felt the burden of incarceration and having their hands tied by not being able to do anything. This was especially hard for me because my family living on the coastal edge of Terrebonne parish. So as you can imagine I was a bit concern.

Inmates would be glued to the TV every minute they could, watching closely where the storm would hit. Anxiety of watching and the equal gain of frustration of not being able to help were in every inmate’s thoughts. Even though we had limited phone use some inmates did get word that their loved ones have left or were in the process of leaving. The problem of talking or reaching them after they sought refuge was limited because of our list of approved phone numbers. So it became a waiting game and test of each inmate’s patients as to when they would hear from their families again.

Prayers and hopes were now the comfort most inmates took as they watch the storms hit their hometown. Trusting God to protect and look after their loved ones. I for one can remember praying that God would watch over and protect my family. My testimony in saying that is I felt the peace of God telling me that He was protecting them and not to be worried or concern. Praise God!

After the hurricanes past was another matter. Inmates watching TV were now becoming restless and wanted to help even more with the clean up but again the burden of incarceration became even harder for them. I recall the anger some inmates felt as they watched the state and federal government being caught unprepared as relief slowly poured into the devastated areas. Inmates did manage to release some of that tension of anger by yelling at the TV and drawing comfort from other inmates who would listen as they shared. I for one decided not to watch because I knew it would just frustrate me, so I just provided a listening ear to help the others.

Inmates did take great comfort as they watched and received news reports of local people helping their neighbors and finally being able to reach their family members back on the phone. I for one was extremely grateful to God for protecting my family and providing many cousins and family members to help. A few months later I was able to thank them personally and continue with the cleanup and getting back to life.

It was wonderful to see the many people flock to the coastline and help anyone in need. I want to now extend my deep gratitude and thanks to everyone who volunteers and takes time out of their busy schedule to help a neighbor and citizen of this great country. God’s love truly shines when we help each other, God bless you.

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