What it means to me for the First Step Act to be passed


Lisa Esterbrook is  currently incarcerated in Miami Detention Center, a Federal prison in Florida. She has served 10 years for non violent dug offense. These are her words in regards to the First Step Act;

Right NOW for me it could mean the difference between failure or success!

It could be the First Step towards building the relationship between my kids, family and loved ones that have been missing due to my incarceration and having no control over where the BOP places me. Instead of being placed close to those I love, I have been transferred ALL over the country and am currently in a detention center 2,200 MILES AWAY from home.

I watch the other ladies go to visits and come back with smiles on their faces and joy in their steps and they are preparing to re enter society and I try NOT to be sad. I  hold on to the hope that one day I will be able to feel that feeling instead of the constant distress of being so far away, and the heart break that goes along with it.

What is very important and hurts the most, is that my kids and my loved ones too, are the ones paying the price and being punished and who are let down every time they find out I’m NOT coming close.  The FIRST STEP will not only be that on MANY levels, it will be one of the most important steps in repairing and rebuilding the damage done by my actions that led to my incarceration.

It is also the FIRST ACT of compassion and kindness towards my mother and her parents who pray to GOD everyday for a chance to see and spend time with one another before its too late. The FIRST STEP ACT will answer that prayer.

The First Step Act gives me one more chance to do better for myself, my kids and family – to improve my opportunities for success as well as receive some mental and emotional healing through the rehabilitation process, programs, more intensive counseling and training classes.

Here at FDC MIAMI, I am offered literally ZERO in the way of ANY sort of these things. I have only asked the BOP help me to continue to help myself, and afford me the same opportunities that other inmates receive and that shall be enforced thru the FIRST STEP ACT.

I am currently housed with pretrial unsentenced inmates in one area; confined there on a 24-7 daily basis, with NOTHING to offer ME, as this unit is NOT built for LONG TERM inmates. The FIRST STEP ACT will allow me to make better choices, changes and allow me to move forward instead of back ward. It will give me my joy back that is being depleted from me in this type of environment.

I do NOT want to die in prison, and my track record is not the best either… But I am determined to make this the last time I enter  the prison system. I miss my kids and my loved ones so much that at times my words don’t seem to be able to express the feeling that sits on my heart.  NOT being able to see them and NOT be able to explain to them WHY I cant see them or WHY I am so discouraged at times when I call… It just doesn’t go away…

Learn more about the First Step Act here

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