Prison Stories

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By The Late Ron Bartlette

We’ve all heard about or seen movies about prisons and the stories that unfold from the prisoners within. None of us is jumping up and down to change places with the prisoners. Although we may have done exactly what they have done, we just haven’t been caught as of yet. 

Many of the incarcerated plead not guilty and they could be. But let’s be very clear on one thing, you may not be in a concrete and metal-encased prison watched over by armed guards, but nonetheless, you are very likely in prison right now. What do I mean? You are no freer than anyone in a locked facility. Let me list a few prisons that you could be in right now.

– Self-pity
– Un-forgiveness
– Addictions
– Self-centeredness
– Grief
– Pride
– Money-hungry
– Vanity
– Anger
– Depression
– Fear
– Workaholic
– Laziness
The list could go on.
We all love the prison story where the prisoner is exonerated after the guilty culprit is found and fesses up. I’ve watched Shawshank Redemption more than 3 times and I always come away encouraged.

Or the prison story where the prisoner is changed somehow by the prison experience and their life outside the prison walls is a 180-degree turnabout.

Prisoners in the legal system are under lock and key. Prisoners of their own making, listed above, hold the keys to their cells in their own hands but alas they are tougher guards of the keys than any uniformed prison guard. Now we all have a story or 2 or 3 that could break your heart and make you cry. But who doesn’t? It’s time to unlock the doors to your self-made prison and live as you should. I heard these words in Susan Monk Kidd’s book, Secret Life of Bees

“When it’s time to die, die. When it’s time to live, live and do it with all your might.”

Remember the day will come soon enough when it will be time to die. In the meantime, use your life, gifts, talents, skills, experience, abilities, and spirit to encourage and uplift others around you. You would be so surprised by the blessings you will receive including peace of mind. The peace of mind will come because you got your mind off of yourself and your situation. Let the prisoners rise up and seize the freedom they richly deserve. Be one of those prison stories that when people hear it, everyone rejoices and passes on the good news!

Picture of The Late Ron Barlette

The Late Ron Barlette


This year marks the third anniversary of the passing of Ron Bartlette, Executive Director and Founder of the Winnipeg Transition Centre.

Ron was humbled by the opportunities he was given to lead the organization, working with so many passionate, gifted staff and touching the lives of numerous participants.

His legacy and vision continues on through the various programs and services of the Winnipeg Transition Centre, where thousands in Manitoba and across Canada have received support and training and who in turn, will provide inspiration in their communities.

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