Story by Joe Santana; Photo By Ken Krayeske • 10:50 PM EST
Columnist's Note: After writing a few pieces for The 40-Year Plan in the fall of 2009 while an inmate at Hartford County Correctional Facility, our prison correspondent Joe Santana was transferred to Garner Correctional Institute in Newtown.
I do not mean to insinuate that there was a cause and effect between his journalistic pursuits and the transfer, because despite being a higher security prison, the services at Garner are much better. Joe and I talk often, and while he writes regularly, this is the first piece he has sent in a while.
When we printed one of his columns last fall, a loyal reader sent Joe a letter encouraging him to write more, as he clearly has a talent for it. I deeply appreciate the community reaching out to Joe.
Joe loved the letter, and he has taken the advice to heart. He told me proudly that the inmate newspaper was publishing a letter he wrote to his father, who is seriously ill in Puerto Rico. Because of the time Joe is looking at, he may not see his dad before his father dies. I hope this is not the case, as Joe has already missed the funeral of a grandparent due to his incarceration. It must hurt more than I want to imagine.
Once Joe read me the letter, I felt our audience needed to see it, too.
If you are interested in writing to our prison correspondent, Joe loves getting mail: Joe Santana, inmate number 306658, Garner Correctional Facility, 50 Nunnawauk, Newtown, Connecticut 06470.
Thanks again, and keep those cards and letters coming.
What's up, man? How have you been? I haven't seen you in ages. I hear from you all the time, but it's not the same, like in person. The last time I really saw you I was in my early teenage years.
The day you announced your withdrawal from Connecticut to live in Puerto Rico, I brushed it off by smoking and drinking all night. It was that night and nights to come that I slowly discovered who you were and who you are.
Dad, when I was younger, your absence was replaced by mom's mentioning of how I’m the spitting image of you. Although it was never mentioned when I was in my Sunday best because she took credit for that.