A few days ago I wrote a bit about the Clemens Initiative, and then gave in again to procrastination. Pursuing new tunes was supposed to provide new motivation to overcoming my writing hump, but instead became a diversion… at least for a day or two. So here’s another attempt to move on.
There are three things which contribute to parricides having one of the lowest recidivism rates among former inmates.
First, statistics tell us that once the abusive parent is out of the picture, more than 90% of parricides will never go on to commit another crime of any kind. This is not attributable to the rehabilitative qualities of our prisons but, rather, to the fact that parricides are not common criminals, but a niche subset all to themselves.
Second, strength of character is the decisive factor in my determination of whether or not to take on a young person. This work got started for me when I received a letter from Derek King in which he was absolutely honest with me about having committed the murder of his father. Since then, the first step in deciding whether to back a young person is receipt of a letter describing his/her story. Often times, such a letter is the first time a young person retells their story since the parricide event. These letters are very revealing and are the primary basis upon which I decide whether to make an investment in their futures.
Third is the unstinting and unconditional support of each young person, regardless of innocence or guilt. Whatever a young person says he/she needs to level the playing field and provide a genuine second chance, we will attempt to meet their needs over the course of their entire life. This includes the provision of skilled legal representation during the defense or appeal of the crime; in the absence of other financial support, a monthly stipend during their incarceration; books and tuition assistance to help them pursue their individual interests, skills, and goals; help in securing health care, adequate housing, transportation, and a good job in the prison-to-freedom transition; etc. In addition to these standard ways of supporting youth, we are committed to supporting their particular plans. Austin Eversole is currently engaged in getting the prison to reopen its woodworking shop and building cabinetry and furniture for internal and external clients. David McCullough, an artist, sells paintings and drawings on the outside. We will assist them however we can.
This commitment to individualized support is a tall order, and the unknowns of the future provide unlimited opportunities for promises not being kept or expectations not being met. For this reason, the parricide’s inheritance to a piece of Estrella Vista is the first thing provided. If all else fails, parricides are at least provided with the hope of a permanent home whenever they are eventually released.
The thing that initially so interested me about supporting a cluster of parricides is to encourage the idea of parricides supporting other parricides. I have Lone Heron–a 40-something parricide, author of Inherited Rage, and someone who is making it in the real world–corresponding with two of the four inmates at Clemens. It has been invaluable tracking her progress. The differences between life experiences among the correspondents have proved to be a real challenge for Lone Heron, and I hesitate to ask her to take additional correspondents into her circle. Yet she may find it refreshing to talk with people who have an older perspective. They have learned more.
I am gratified and impressed by Lone Heron’s dedication to this task. It shows the grit of her commitment to helping other people who have gone through similar events. It takes one’s acceptance of the past to a whole new level.
These developments within the Clemens Initiative are time-consuming and take their own twists and turns. Sometimes this leads to periods of quiet, like now, when new music takes center stage. Last weekend I discovered a band called Nickel Creek.
Nickel Creek (formerly known as The Nickel Creek Band) is an American progressive acoustic music trio consisting of Chris Thile (mandolin), Sara Watkins (fiddle) and Sean Watkins (guitar). Formed in 1989 in Southern California when Sean Watkins and Chris Thile had mandolin lessons with the same music instructor, they released six albums between 1993 and 2006. The band broke out in 2000 with a platinum-selling self-titled album produced by Alison Krauss, earning a number of Grammy and CMA nominations.
Their fourth album won a 2003 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Following a fifth studio album and a compilation album, the band announced an indefinite hiatus at the conclusion of their 2007 Farewell (For Now) Tour.Following numerous solo projects from the band members, Nickel Creek reformed in 2014 with announcement of a new album, A Dotted Line, and subsequent tour.
Just when I was beginning to view new music as the high-point of an otherwise eventless day, the film about Paul Henry Gingerich has aired again on the UK’s Channel 4, and in the last hour, over 3,000 people have found some of the posts I have written about him, Colt, and the crime. I have to go now and answer some emails from the Brits.
Groove of the Day