“I can’t send you back,” the counselor assigned to my case explained. “I’ll be transferring you. You’ll be moved within one to five months. While you wait, it’s going to be dead time.”
California prisons are greatly overcrowded. Facilities designed to hold 800 men are holding up to 1000. Due to the congestion, attention to rehabilitation and medical has been diminished. Through some court rulings, and some voter-approved measures, California has made efforts to release inmates who work toward their rehabilitations. Credits, as they are called, slowly build up and one can cash them in for days, weeks, or even months off a sentence.
A long list of ways to get credits – “Milestones” – is available. But in order to qualify, an inmate must be discipline-free and actively involved in the programs and work assignments that are available. Many now boast of the weeks they’ve earned, but there is a downside.
If an inmate gets a discipline, write-up, or gets sent to Ad Seg (The Hole), all credits get put on hold. In some cases, credits get erased.
While in The Hole, time is dead, meaning an inmate can’t earn credits, so zero progress is made toward release. Time in The Hole stands still. Credits earned get voided, and the reset button is pressed.
Serving “dead time” is not nice. It’s downright brutal, but the rules are the rules. I expected the counselor to remind me that I would be serving dead time, so I wasn’t surprised when he did. His attitude, however, was lacking. He almost giggled as he told me. He found it amusing, I guess. I didn’t react, I just listened.
I listened without worry because I knew something he didn’t know. I knew that “dead time”, for me, was really “alive time.” Dead time affords me a prime opportunity to seek a deeper relationship with my Creator. Dead time opens the doors for my thoughts – directed by God – to be put on paper sent out into the world. Dead time meant I could now focus on reaching the world with the Gospel.
Paul, the apostle, found himself doing a lot of dead time. He was constantly being thrown into prison; yet, from prison, in the ugliest holes of his day, he wrote a majority of his letters, which now comprise a large portion of the New Testament. These letters brought forth life in uncountable souls.
Although I can’t compare myself to Paul, I can identify. I can’t allow dead time to interfere with the calling from God I have received. I cannot, and will not, allow any wall, fence, razor wire, or dead time keep me from proclaiming the gospel of the grace of God.
Dead time is not dead time; it’s the perfect opportunity to grow, and share what you’ve learned with others. It may be that one thing I write will lead one person to pick up a Bible and learn of the One Who died for him. If so, then dead time is well worth it, for what was once dead is now alive.
Maybe you have a lot of dead time in your life, or you have been so busy that nothing really gets done. Don’t allow your time to be wasted. Don’t be idle. Use your dead time to enrich your relationship with the Lord. Prepare yourself to go further than before. And if you are too busy, clear your schedule for some dead time, for it is there you find life.
………nothing is ever dead with the living God………
Adrian G. Torres