LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Change requires everyone working together

Benji Woehle, Bemidji

Coming from within the criminal justice and correction system, looking outward is so much different than standing here looking inward at it.

From here it looks like it's functioning exactly the way it's supposed to. With some admissions to its flaws, and reform on the list of things to do.

But from within, in a cell, by myself -- broken, lonely, addicted -- crying out to the only one who will listen, God, it all seems broken and flawed, just like me.

I'm a number to the courts, a case file to the public defenders, and a burden to the public. I will leave the system exactly the way I came into it, broken.

Until everyone comes to agreement that we are all in this together and that acts of compassion are the only things that change people, the system -- me and all the rest -- will be exactly as we always have been.


A bigger jail isn't going to cut it, but your love, compassion, hope, time and effort, believe it or not, is exactly what's required.

I have been more fortunate than most, I had something to work with when I was released. Leading to this letter.

I wish you all could see the pain, the extreme loneliness, the lack of any compassion sitting inside of that jail. Don't get me wrong here, there are people in the jail, in the public defense, and even in the courts that hope things get better. Although, without everyone working together, that hope is fleeting at best.

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