I am compelled to write this after receiving a letter from an inmate who has served a lengthy sentence.

He will be released to the streets in 2014 with no place to live, no money, and has been chronically ill with complex medical and psychiatric issues. To make matters worse, he will not have health care insurance when he returns to the community. He has not had a visit or a letter from his family in decades.

Most of us are insulated from life behind the wall. Deep in the cinder block institution, designed to rehabilitate the criminal mind, the human condition worsens. The long diseased mind of prison gradually erodes the body, mind and spirit.

What are the social consequences suffered by years of emotional deprivation? Who should care?

The answers come hard for the inmate who penned the above letter asking for help.

In the case of that inmate, he will leave the prison with a few dollars and be dropped off at the bus station. He will stand in the bus station confused and dazed. In his mind, he will wait for the guard to tell him when to board the bus, to nowhere. He will be leaving behind the only family he has known.

Again, who should care?

Calvin Dube, Lewiston

Community inmate advocate

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