From Sing Sing NY Correctional Facility:A father's experience of parenthood

The host of Death, Sex & Money (production of WNYC), Anna Sale, interviews Lawrence Bartley in this 40-minute podcast. The podcast entitled “I killed someone. Now I have 3 kids” aired on Wednesday, December 17, 2014. The podcast offers insight into the life of Mr. Bartley, a 41 year old man, who in his teens unintentionally shot a 15 year old innocent bystander in a movie theatre in NYC. While in prison, Mr. Bartley married his middle-school sweetheart, and they had two sons together. Mr. Bartley speaks about the struggle his family and he face as a result of his incarceration. The following are two excerpts from the interview:

And what do you and your wife tell the boys when they come here, how do you explain it?

Well, for Lawrence [Mr. Bartley’s young son], I explained to him, daddy did something bad, and daddy’s in prison. But when I told it to him, he didn’t really get it. He says things like, why does all the daddies in here wear green pants? Why do the daddies have to stand up? We have to stand up in the visiting room in order to be counted. I explained to him one time but he didn’t get it, so I’m waiting for that moment when he really really gets it, so I can really explain it to him. Because I don’t want to shatter his world right now. But I don’t want to lie to him; that’s what I don’t want to do. I learned that in parenting class, you don’t want to lie to a child and tell them you’re away at school or something like that. But when the time is right, I’ll explain it to him where he can really understand it.”

“For someone who’s never been in prison, what are the dark moments like?

Be more specific.

When does it feel hopeless?

Hm. It feels the most hopeless when your family’s going through a lot, and you have to hear it on the phone, that I don’t have enough money to pay for the bus this month, or rent might be late. And hearing that as a man, you’re like, wow man I need to be there to do something. And it’s the toughest when my wife may go out and other husbands are with their wives, and her husband isn’t here. And I hear the pain in her voice. The toughest is when she has to juggle between leaving work to go take her child to the doctor, which happens to be the same day as the parent teacher meeting for another child, knowing that I’m the one that’s supposed to be there at the parent teacher meeting while she goes to the doctor. That’s when it’s the toughest.”

Patricia Allard

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