Journey of Faith

The board is ready!

Three and half years, I waited for this day to come. I knew the Lord had already told me that I was going home. I had prepared for this day from day one. I let the officer know that I was there for my Parole board hearing and waiting to hear my name to be called. I was there with a couple of other ladies that I knew from my unit. As, I heard my name I walked up the steps to meet the officer who would be sitting in my hearing that day. She took me in to the conference room that I was shown a month earlier. I was told to sit at a specific chair and that the board would appear via Zoom in a few minutes. The chair was sitting at a weird angle that made me feel uncomfortable. It was set so that they could see you on the screen, but it was an un-natural way of sitting at a table. The officer sat in a chair about 2 seats in front of me, her back to me. I think that was a way of giving me a sense of privacy. I appreciated the gesture. Two men appeared on the screen. They introduced themselves, said hello and I introduced myself in the most professional way possible. I wasn’t uncomfortable with the idea of having a zoom meeting because working in an office as long as I had this wasn’t unusual. The people I was meeting was the nerve ending part. The first man seemed to be the “good cop”. He asked me questions about my family, what I intended to do when I left. Warm up questions. He then asked me about the day that brought me before him. I had gone over this in my mind so many times, I knew it well. The story didn’t get any earier to tell. He asked me some follow up questions, as if surprised. The reaction I see often when I tell this story. I know he asked me a few other questions, but I can’t remember them specifically. Next was the “bad cop”. He actually wasn’t that bad, but he asked the tougher questions. The question that he asked me though was only one question and I knew it was to see my reaction. I was actually glad he asked the question that he did because it was the one that if I was him, I would have wanted an answer to as well. It was the one question that I prepared for. That right there was the Lord’s doing! He looked at me and asked, “You seem very remorseful and have taken responsibility. When, are you taking responsibility now, and why did you file for an appeal?” I looked at him, calm and responded to him. “Sir, you’re absolutely right. I did file for an appeal. I took a huge risk in doing so, knowing that I could be facing more time if I did this. I’d never been in trouble before or in jail before. I was scared to death. Everyone that talked to my family, and even other attorneys encouraged me to file an appeal because of different aspects of the case that wasn’t adding up. I was told that I had 10 days to make that decision. After, I became acclimated and had I had more time to decide, I wouldn’t have filed for the appeal. I actually tried to request it to be withdrawn and I was told that wasn’t possible. I don’t know if that is correct or not. I was following the advice of counsel. I wanted to withdraw my request because I realized that by doing this I was not only putting the families through this again, but my family and the community. I was not trying to revictimize anyone. I realized that by doing this that is what was happening. If, I had the chance or know what I know now, I wouldn’t have filed for an appeal.” He looked at me stunned. He didn’t have any further questions. I was dismissed and left with no feeling of a yes or no. I would have just have to wait AGAIN. We saw the board on a Thursday. The following week by about Wednesday, all but two of us were on the call out to go to the parole office. They all came back stating that they were denied and had to waiting another 6 months, 9 months, etc. to be able to see them again. I was not part of that group. I thought to myself, “ok, this has to be a good sign”. They have 10 weeks to let you know, by 6 weeks you can send a request asking for the status. It was now 6 weeks, no word. I wrote a response, and they heard nothing. I ran into my counselor, and she said to me, “you did really well”. I took that as a positive too that she knew something. I waited almost the entire alotted time until I finally went to the parole office for my decision. I walked up, sat down and was shaking more than when I saw the board. This 8.5×11 piece of paper had the answer on it. I was so scared; I could hardly read it. She wouldn’t just tell me. She made me read it. I felt like it was slowest that I ever read anything in my life. I felt like the world was moving in slow motion. Then I saw it. The answer. I saw it. I looked up at her and she says, “there’s good news and bad news”.


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