The Marshall Project

After Prison, I Became a Better Dad

“Even when a parent has been part of a child’s pain, that parent’s love can still be the antidote.”

Editor’s note: This week, we’re running a special Life Inside series about fathers and incarceration. Read the previous essays about next-cell neighbors, dancing in the prison gym, a surprise meeting and a friend who became family.

When I was in prison, I was so incredibly desperate to be with my children.

Life Inside Perspectives from those who work and live in the criminal justice system. Related Stories

I’d lie in bed at night, and remember how happy my older daughter was at her graduation from Head Start, and how, when she recognized me in the crowd, she ran over and jumped in my arms. I’d remember when my younger daughter was changing from a baby into a toddler and we’d go for walks down our street. She would grab my pinky, and we’d walk at a turtle’s crawl, and when we’d pass the house with the dog in the backyard, she held my hand

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Marshall Project

The Marshall Project7 min readSociety
In My Prison, Summer is “Ticket Season”
There isn't much that we can do here in a Level 5 maximum-security prison—which is where they send us unmanageable inmates, to seclude us even further. So I write, read, watch TV and occasionally look out my window, watching the prisoners from the ot
The Marshall Project4 min readSociety
When People with Intellectual Disabilities Are Punished, Parents Pay the Price
A sex offense conviction can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Who pays when the offender has an intellectual disability?
The Marshall Project5 min readSociety
All I Really Need to Know I Learned on the Streets of the Garment District
“The runaways, the mobsters, the pimps—they saw me as someone credible, someone who didn’t judge them.”