Sandy C. Freese
Social and Justice Reform Advocate
The tie that binds me with incarcerated citizens and their loved ones is trauma. After going through difficult times in my past, I went to weekly sessions with various mental health care providers. However, I found that I needed a more active way to heal. After benefitting personally from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, I achieved an accreditation in such giving me the ability to work with those who are incarcerated. Through CBT, new belief systems, that are authentic to each person, can be attained. Self-worth can be achieved, and rehabilitation is within grasp. This population has been largely ignored which makes depression much more likely. Isolation leads to depression and, often times, parleys into suicidal tendencies. Simply put, these individuals are citizens of this nation and are worthy. The loved ones supporting our incarcerated citizens struggle with feelings of guilt, hopelessness, and despair. Encouraging them is an important part of my work. I am very proud of my first book, The United States Injustice System. Through the interviews I have conducted with those who are, or have been, incarcerated, it is clear that our justice system is in dier need of reform. I have also found that society, as a whole, is unaware of the brutality that our incarcerated citizens are subjected to on a daily basis.
Many within our correctional facilities are innocent; many have been exonerated. According to Death Penalty Information Center, since the mid 1970's, there have been 186 citizens who have been executed who have later been found to be innocent of the crimes they were convicted of. After our mental health facilities closed their doors, many struggling with mental health issues were forced to the streets. Rather than receiving treatment, many have been arrested and now call prison home. Those struggling with addiction are also not receiving treatment; they are simply removed from society and placed into correctional facilities. Prison staff is not equipped to provide for this population, in fact, drugs and alcohol are often available to them throughout their sentences.
Both education and active participation will lead us closer to restoration.
Sandy C. Freese
Seymour Indiana Post Office
PO Box 105
321 N Chestnut St, Seymour Indiana 47272.
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