28
Oct
16

freedom coming soon

paul-henry-going-into-court.

This post will be short and sweet. All you really care about this morning’s hearing is how it turned out.

In a ruling issued today, with time off for good behavior, Paul Henry Gingerich will be required to serve 90 days in adult prison (across the street at Pendleton adult prison in their minimum security unit), and one year in a re-entry program while in home detention in Allen County IN (Fort Wayne), and probation for 10 years after that. This is according to attorney Monica Foster, who just called and said the ruling is hard to read (and is already being misreported as 300 days), but she says: “That’s what it is.”

The sentence is a result of “Paul’s Law,” which was passed in response to Paul Henry becoming what is believed to be the youngest person in Indiana sentenced as an adult. In court, Paul Henry said: “I know I committed a truly horrible crime and I am sorry for that. I will never stop being sorry and I know sorry will never be enough,” he said.

“We won,” Monica said. I told her this was all her doing and she should get a medal, but she said Paul Henry worked hard, too. “We make a good team.”

There is a tendency to think that everything will eventually turn out happily-ever-after. Maybe there will be a brief honeymoon period after Paul Henry is allowed to return home, but I think it is more likely there will be challenges for Paul Henry as the reality sets in and he is confronted with the unpredictabilities of living life on the outside. At first he will be known to others because of his crime, but as time passes this will become more of a dissatisfier, and he will struggle to make his own way even as he is tethered to his past by the recurring reminders intruding on his opportunities by the parole process. He will have to live with the inconveniences of coping with a colostomy bag, and the certain choices and medical procedures that will entail. And then there will be the inevitable challenges of living with his mother or his father, and their expectations of him (which will be quite different). A bed of roses it will not be, probably for a long time to come.

This is the true beginning of Paul Henry’s second chance at life. It will be harder for him than anyone expects. As he will discover, his redemption will depend entirely on the work he himself does. But as his time in prison presages, he will likely be successful if he remains true to his inner compass, come what may.

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Ziggy Marley performing “True to Myself”

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Weather Report

79° and Partly Cloudy

 


8 Responses to “freedom coming soon”


  1. October 28, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    A great outcome, despite the fact he must transition through Pendleton Correctional Industrial Facility, the place where Colt serves his time, before being placed on electronic monitoring and, later, on probation. It’s just sad that there is no way for him to avoid adult prison before been released.

    • 2 Simon
      October 29, 2016 at 12:35 am

      Im worried about that he must serve 90 days in adult prison. Ok its minimum security , but although i hope there will be no “foul play” by other inmates to destroy his possibilities.

  2. 3 Frank Manning
    October 28, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    This is great news. So happy for Paul and his family! Kudos to Monica … and to you too Dan!

  3. 4 Willow54
    October 29, 2016 at 3:43 am

    Paul’s family must be so happy following the outcome of his sentence review yesterday. All of his extended family, friends and advocates, myself included, surely share the happiness that they will soon be getting their boy back to his home and into their loving arms.

    Let’s inject a note of realism, however. If they thought it was hard work getting to this point, as soon as he walks out of those prison gates, that’s when the real hard work will begin. Spare a thought for Paul’s mother. She is going to be around him constantly for the foreseeable future, and her task to navigate him through the choppy waters to come will arguably be the hardest thing. Remember it won’t be the cute little shorthouse kid with the Justin Bieber haircut who was welcomed home from middle school every day that she will be getting back. By his appearance on the recent news coverage, he has developed into one hefty big unit. No, what she will be getting back is a six foot tall, broad-shouldered, stubble-faced young adult who has spent his crucial formative years being institutionalized and deprived of the ability to make decisions for himself, his adult mindset also shaped by that environment and the people he has come into contact with during this time. It’s going to take a long time and a mountain of patience to try and undo that damage. On a purely practical level, he hasn’t been socialized with his normal peer group, he isn’t social media savvy, and one of the first things he will need is to get his drivers’ license and access to a car if he is to function properly in his new community setting.

    Let’s also face facts. This decision to release Paul will not have gone down well in all quarters. His family are going to have to factor this into any decisions they may make about his future path in order to keep him safe while he gradually resumes his place in society.

    Then there’s the system itself. Statistics show that over 70 percent of juveniles end up back in prison after breaching their parole conditions. Advocates for justice have long contended that this is a deliberate ploy by the authorities to make parole so restrictive that it sets ex-offenders up to fail. Whether that’s true or not, it’s a very real barrier to successful re-entry, which will apply equally to Paul as it does to the many others affected by it and it is what it is.

    We can only wish Paul every piece of good luck in his quest to make a viable life for himself going forward. If the statement he made in court is true, he will have the determination to do just that, with the support of his family and those around him. Along with them, I’m sure we all look forward to the smiling faces in the photos we will no doubt see as he walks out of those Pendleton gates in February 2017.

    • October 29, 2016 at 6:39 am

      I’m not sure that you are referring to the good statistics. It seems to me to have read that it was the youths who had been incarcerated in the “adult system” which had a 70% recidivism rate, while this rate for young persons convicted as juveniles was only of 30%. Paul has only known the juvenile system, which leaves hope a lower risk of recurrence for a young man already regarded as being at low risk. And I don’t think that the short stay he will have to do across the road will be able to change this.

      On the other hand, I agree with you regarding the challenges Paul and his family will face in the early times following his release. But I also think that, if people will remember what he has done, they will also remember that Paul worked hard to redeem himself and get his chance.

  4. 6 BobH
    October 29, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Every step forward is to be welcomed. Each will bring challenges. Willow94’s post does great analysis of the situation, and I hope that Paul Henry can navigate the future; that he has strong family support is a powerful factor.
    It does seem strange that the system will put him in the same facility as Colt Lundy, even if only for 6 months.

  5. 8 Willow54
    October 30, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Noting that you have edited the post since its’ original publication Dan, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with this. They may have won a battle in court Friday but, for this family, the war will go on.

    Whatever way you look at it, the kid has been dealt a pretty bad hand, all because of some poor choices he made aged 12. His life has been anything but normal. He has missed out on so much already. The typical social life of high school, playing competitive sports in school, his first teenage high school crush, senior prom, graduation in the company of his peers, learning to drive with his Dad aged 16, having school buddies that turn into lifelong friends. The list could probably go on.

    It won’t stop there, of course. Because of his conviction, he will continue to miss out on opportunities probably for the remainder of his life. There will be more challenges than successes, certainly in the short to medium term. It’s no secret that colleges are reluctant to accept on campus, individuals with criminal records, and although this conviction will not be on Paul’s public records going forward, the news coverage will almost certainly make it impossible for any educational center or potential employer not to know who he is. Even once he is able to move out of his mother’s home, he may also have difficulty renting an apartment. But it is the everyday stuff that is the most poignant, and where you have to feel for the guy. I mean, for example, what teenage boy doesn’t cherish the thought of going for his first legal beer with his Dad at age 18? With parole restrictions, and regular drug and alcohol testing to come, that’s just not going to happen now, and not for many years. Aside from that, relationships will undoubtedly be problematic. Normal teenagers have dozens of friends and probably hundreds of acquaintances at that age. So far as we know, Paul has none of that. It’s a big question, who is going to want to hang out with him? And as for more intimate relationships, well, I don’t need to explain how difficult that might be to achieve given the circumstances.

    Paul has clearly worked hard for himself to get to this point, and he has shown a maturity and determination that many other teenagers lack. Perhaps a pragmatism born out of circumstance, but nevertheless a creditable achievement in itself. That said, the challenges he now faces are undoubtedly formidable, and that determination and tenacity of spirit is going to have to come to the fore like never before, if he is going to make a success of his future life. I’m sure everyone here, myself included, wishes him the best of luck, because he is going to need it.


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