The Marshall Project

After Prison, I Became a Better Dad

“Even when a parent has been part of a child’s pain, that parent’s love can still be the antidote.”

Editor’s note: This week, we’re running a special Life Inside series about fathers and incarceration. Read the previous essays about next-cell neighbors, dancing in the prison gym, a surprise meeting and a friend who became family.

When I was in prison, I was so incredibly desperate to be with my children.

Life Inside Perspectives from those who work and live in the criminal justice system. Related Stories

I’d lie in bed at night, and remember how happy my older daughter was at her graduation from Head Start, and how, when she recognized me in the crowd, she ran over and jumped in my arms. I’d remember when my younger daughter was changing from a baby into a toddler and we’d go for walks down our street. She would grab my pinky, and we’d walk at a turtle’s crawl, and when we’d pass the house with the dog in the backyard, she held my hand

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Marshall Project

The Marshall Project5 min read
Your Arrest Was Dismissed. But It’s Still In A Police Database.
In New York City, officers are illegally using information from arrests that have been sealed, according to a lawsuit. The practice is legal in more than two dozen states.
The Marshall Project6 min read
Two Friends Were Found Guilty of the Same Murder. Only One Is Free.
His co-defendant was acquitted based on new evidence, but prosecutors are still fighting to keep Andrew Krivak in prison.
The Marshall Project7 min read
It's Risky Brewing Prison Hooch. I Learned the Hard Way.
If there’s one thing prison does for guy like me, it’s teach—though the lessons are learned the hard way. Early on in my bid, I got caught up in a conversation with a buddy of mine about finding a way to kill the hunger pangs we were both regularly