Though With Their High Wrongs I Am Struck To Th' Quick
October 28, 2019 7:32 PM   Subscribe

Because prison inmates are prohibited from corresponding directly with their victim or members of their victim’s family, twelve states have created apology letter banks, a communication venue through which inmates can send and crime victims can receive an inmate’s apology letter--when and if a victim wishes to take that step. Convicted murderer and prison journalist John J. Lennon reflects on writing his apology letter, the difficulties involved, and the unanswered question: for whom is the letter ultimately written?
posted by mattdidthat (2 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
It was the kind of thing that you know is wrong as soon as you hear yourself say it out loud.

So relatable.

Alex, too, was more than his worst deed. His potential has never been realized because of me. I should be the last person to disparage Alex for who he was at the time of his death.

This is a painful insight — that no matter how much change and growth Lennon goes through, he can never get away from the fact that he stopped another person’s timeline, prevented all of his changes. There is a hard limit on what his remorse can do in the world. Thanks for posting.
posted by eirias at 5:41 AM on October 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

"The OVA’s directive offers guidelines for how a prisoner should approach writing an apology letter — that expecting forgiveness, for instance, is self-serving, and means you probably aren’t ready to write the letter. Reading this, I wondered: Was it selfish to hope for forgiveness?"

I've been thinking about this question recently, though in regards to Christianity. It's really been bothering me that the notion of a getting forgiveness from neither the victims or those affected. It seems very self-serving.

This was a very interesting read, not a perspective I hear often and maybe not one I would care to seek out again.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:45 AM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

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