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Exonerated Prisoners - Why Are They Not P.O'd?

Exonerated Prisoners - Why Are They Not P.O'd?

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Published by Stan Moody
You will never be free on the outside until you have been freed on the inside...
You will never be free on the outside until you have been freed on the inside...

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Published by: Stan Moody on Jan 05, 2011
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01/08/2011

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Stan Moody
POB 240Manchester, ME 04351207/626-0594www.stanmoody.com 
Stan Moody of Manchester, ME, former Maine State Representative and most recently a Chaplain at Maine State Prison in Warren, is advocating for transparency and accountability in Maine’s prison system…A prolific and published writer, Dr.Moody is pastor of the Meeting House Church in Manchester and has been aspeaker on human rights issues at conferences around the nation…
Exonerated Prisoners: Why Aren’t They Just P.O.’d?
 January 5, 2011 They gave him 2 chances to get out on parole, the latest in2004, if only he would admit to being a sex offender. He refused,and on Tuesday, January 4, Cornelius Dupree, Jr. was declaredinnocent of a 1979 rape after 30 years in prison. He became the21
st
DNA exoneration in Dallas County, TX, a distinctionunmatched nationally but happily the result of a quirk in thecounty crime lab procedure that preserves biological evidence fordecades after a conviction.Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, the first blackDA in Texas history, has cooperated with the Innocence Project inhundreds of cases because of what he calls a “convict-at-all-costs” mentality in the Texas Criminal Justice system. As a formerchaplain at the maximum security Maine State Prison, I oftenreminded prisoners that the time for justice was during trial – notafter being sentenced: “On the streets, you are presumedinnocent until proven guilty; in here, you are presumed to beguilty until proven innocent.” That is largely true except in the case of blacks, Hispanics,the indigent, the homeless and the socially disconnected. Throughout the nation, the system of a fair trial is tilted heavily infavor of suburban whites living in mortal fear of a disruption of their ordered lifestyles, including the steady encroachment of age.
Exonerated-Prisoners: Why-Are-They-Not-P.O.’d?www.stanmoody.ccom 
 
 Time after time, we have watched these exoneratedprisoners come out into the sunlight with nary an angry word,while the rest of us are quick to say, “I would be some P.O.’d!” The 51 year-old Dupree, after hearing the words, “You are free togo”, said, “It’s a joy to be free again.”My good friend, Mwalimu Johnson, of New Orleans, was shotand paralyzed by FBI agents erroneously assuming hisparticipation in an armed bank robbery (charges later dropped).He was tried, convicted and sentenced for 7 years for assault onthe agents who shot him and 50 years for unrelated charges thatwere later deemed to be false. He was released after 22 years inprison. Mwalimu, one of the most peaceful persons I have evermet, tells about his attitude transformation with these words:
Initially I was unable to entertain any thought of forgiveness, but slowly I came to realize that bitternessonly creates bitterness. Negative experiences are akind of cancer, and my choice as a human being iseither to encourage the spread of that cancer or toarrest it and apply a solution. I opt to be part of thesolution; part of the healing. Forgiveness is not amatter of doing anything heroic or exceptional; it’s just about being natural.
As for all of us, peace for the wrongly accused is about self-preservation. Anger and bitterness, though effectively exploitedwithin the penal system, is a suicide mission. Those who havebeen unfairly treated or accused have only one path to survival –forgiveness and compassion for others. Once you cross thatdivide, there is no going back to a world of reaction and revenge. Johnson is by background a professing Christian. While thereis much about his drug-dependent youth of which he is not proud,he has put his finger on the problem of anger both inside andoutside prison. To be anything but part of the healing process isto be part of the problem. It is called “growing up,” aphenomenon missed by all too many blogging suburbanites thesedays.Closer to home, I recently received a letter from a paroleefrom Maine Correctional Center. Having spent a number of yearsin prison, his awakening came from witnessing what he calls the“thousand mile stare,” the heart-wrenching look of despair on
Exonerated-Prisoners: Why-Are-They-Not-P.O.’d?www.stanmoody.ccom 

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