From the October 2008 Idaho Observer:

Reflections after one year

It is now one year since Ed and I were captured by the marshals and incarcerated. It is hard to believe that an entire year has passed already. Even though this has not been fun, the time has seemed to pass.

Prison is an experience that is hard to describe to anyone who has not experienced it. It is a sea of contradictions in many ways. In prison one is thrown in with a wide variety of people. Many of these people are from backgrounds that are totally different from oneís own; thus we are forced to be with people who may have no way of understanding each other from their unique perspectives.

I have seen selfishness, bullying, argumentativeness, lying and stealing; I have also seen sharing, caring, concern, protectiveness, spirituality, compassion as I have seldom experienced in the outside world.

Prison is a time-out from life; it is a chance to reflect and start anew. A person can take this time to sort out and change direction. With the right attitude it can be a fresh start. I have had women tell me they are glad they are here, as it has been the only thing that has enabled them to kick a drug habit, gambling habit, whatever.

Do not misunderstand, I am not saying this is the place to go when your life is on the wrong track, but it has helped many. The help comes not from the prison or from the rehabilitation programs that the prison offers because, except for some drug programs, there are NO rehabilitation programs in prison. The benefit comes from inside the individual, and can be influenced by the "friends" that one makes there. The right people can help like nothing else can; the wrong ones can do the opposite.

Prison life is demeaning and dehumanizing. Privacy is gone; self-respect is tested to the limits. Many of the officers are kind and, if not caring, at least not mean. There are always those who seem to enjoy power, and take opportunities to make a miserable prison life more miserable.

Many who are here should not be here (yes, I know, everyone in prison is innocent!). Believe me, many are. Our "justice" system is fraught with imperfections and, I am sorry to say, corruption. I used to support the death sentence but no moreóand never again.

Ed and I maintain and will always maintain our innocence. We have still never been shown the law they say we violated. This injustice, of course, dominoed to the arrests of Jason, Danny, Reno, and Bob, good men all.

However, we all have a part to play in Godís plan. Ed and I and these four good men chose to play our roles. We have faith that righteousness will win out and God will affect our release and clear our names. The Quran tells us, "Men need laws in order to lead orderly lives." But those laws must be based on the eternal principles of righteousness and fair play. Sadly, those principles are no longer in effect in our courts and legislatures. We pray to God they will return. In the meantime, may He protect us all.

Elaine-Alice: Brown

Fort Worth, Texas