Moving to parent prison….

I’ve finally moved from CRC (correctional reception center) to my parent institution at PCI (pickaway correctional institution) where I will serve my remaining time. PCI is relatively small so it is hard to comprehend spending the next several years of my life in such a confined state but I know it is something I have to endure. I am participating in a year-long alcohol and substance abuse recovery program called OASIS (Our awareness of self increases success) that will help me take a look at my actions and behaviors and how they truly effect those around me. It is a structure based environment and I am hopeful that it will enable me to confront some of the inner demons so I can lead a health and productive life. It is still very difficult to comprehend being incarcerated for 6 1/2 years but I am able to stay positive if I just focus on bettering myself day-to-day. I have an amazing support system in my family, girlfriend, and friends. I wouldn’t be able to stay positive without them. Prison is mostly a mental battle with yourself daily. There is a lot of negativity; drugs, alcohol, violence, sexual violence, gang activity, and basically anything else you can imagine. Fortunately I am removed from such things in the OASIS community and stay mentally strong and aware to not give in to all of the negativity, though some days it is very difficult. – Matthew Cordle


11 thoughts on “Moving to parent prison….

  1. Every time I read one of Matthew’s posts, I am struck by how much I take for granted and even grumble about in my everyday life. I am also struck that unlike Matthew, there are men and women who almost choose prison over life in free society. That truly baffles me. While reading this and knowing how Matthew is struggling is hard, I am glad that he does struggle, that he doesn’t want to be there. That will give him the power to persevere. I think I’d almost be more worried if he were complacent. I sent Matthew a letter today. I hope it encourages him and reminds him that many people are thinking and praying for him. If you haven’t written to him, it is very easy through the JPay system.

  2. Dear Ken, I really want to thank you for all your posts. Having my son in prison has been so life changing and very difficult. But after reading your above post, it made me feel a little better (a little) – I have never thought about it that way until now and you are right – I think I would be very worried too if he didn’t struggle – that definitely gave me something to think about. Our family is very grateful for your support and encouragement.


    • Kari — you are most welcome. After many years as a tutor at the county prison when younger and then a citizen monitor for jails and prisons here in IL more recently, I have only encountered one inmate who told me he deserved to be there. I think that is why Matthew’s case kind of spoke to me. I really was in awe of his willingness to take responsibility in the way he did. I thought he was nuts for doing so mind you because I knew what awaited him and felt pretty sure he didn’t. However, what he did has sent such a profound message around the globe that I want to support him if he will let me. I’ve let him know I’m a person he can vent to about aspects of prison life he may not want to share with family and friends because I do understand. He has chosen not to so far which is fine, but if he needs to at some point, I will understand. I’ve already seen it first hand and spoken with many inmates about such things. Stay strong, Kari. This is something he has to do now and has to do it on his own, but with support. Be proud of who he is and who he will become.

  3. I have written to Matthew at the PO BOX 209 address in Orient, OH. Does his address change now that he is at PCI? I have a book to send to him and I want to make sure it is going to the correct address. Matthew wrote me back before without a return stamp. I didn’t expect it. It was beautiful and insightful letter. I know he said he is living his life for two people. He is living it for many of us who struggle with taking responsibility even for the smallest of things. The shame and reprisal keeps us/me from doing it. 6 1/2 years seems like a long time to a young man. His commitment to traveling the road less traveled will make all the difference in his life – now and in the future – for himself, his family, and the lives of many he has touched. Please let me know his current address because I would like to send him this book and keep in touch. Thank you. Nina

  4. Thank you. Matthew has a lot of courage and inner fortitude, that I wish I had, to take responsibility in such a public fashion. I have no doubt of the great man he is becoming. It is no small feat he is taking on. This time is forging him in ways we can only imagine. He has chosen a path which only a few of us can relate. We all live in some fashion in the prison of shame of our mistakes and delusion. He is removing his cage to become truly free. I know it an awful price to pay. It is honoring of the life taken. I imagine it is a very lonely journey. I wish him and his family all the best and my heartfelt prayers to the Canzani family. Nina

  5. Kari — I thought you’d like to know I got an email from Matthew today. It was a very nice letter and the tone of this one sounded a little lighter in it’s overall tone which I hope indicates he is a bit more settled and maybe a bit less stressed. I’m going to write him back either tonight or tomorrow. Anyway, just thought you’d like to know I heard from him.

  6. Ken – thank you for letting me know you received an email from Matt – It really touches my heart and gives me strength that he is taking the time to communicate and share with others – so yes, I do like knowing that he is writing to you. I can’t begin to tell you how grateful our family is for all your support! You seem to have a lot of knowledge and know what your talking about and can relate to Matt. You had posted that you thought he was nuts for taking full responsibility as you knew what awaited him and that he did not – I had the same feeling when he told the family what he was about to do. I didn’t totally understand what it all really meant at the time. When he tired to explain that he was going to plead guilty to all the charges, I had no idea what that meant either, but he knew exactly what he wanted to do and I felt very strongly that I needed to respect his wishes. I wanted to beg the judge to please not send my boy to prison, but I could not as I made a promise to Matt that I would support him 100% in his decision. If I had a do over, I think I would have broken my promise. 6 1/2 years is a long time and our family misses Matt terribly – I know he took another life and I try to keep that present in my thoughts. If someone hurt one of my children or loved one, I would probably feel that 6 1/2 years wasn’t long enough. I am blow away by the out poor of people that have supported Matt and our family and how Matt has made a positive difference in the world. I am proud of his courage – didn’t know he had it in him and I know I couldn’t have done what he did…….

  7. Kari, completely understand how you feel. I hope you know that when I say I thought he was nuts, it is with the greatest of respect and awe for what he did. You said it so well when you said you are proud of his courage and you should be. It takes incredible courage to do what he did. You have every right to be proud of him.

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