For over sixty years no movie has capture our imagination like the movie The Wizard of Oz. Viewing it once again had me reminiscing how me, my sister, and friends would always look forward to seeing this movie every year during our adolescent years. Well, after viewing it again, I found that some prisoners and Dorothy have a lot in common on their journeys. Mainly, they both want to go home.

Now, for Dorothy it started with her getting caught up in a hurricane that had taken her away from her loved ones through a dream. As for some prisoners, like myself, it started by being arrested and charged for a crime you didn’t commit, which has transformed into a nightmare but, again, they both seek one thing . . . HOME!

Dorothy first meets Gilda, the Good Witch, and the first thing Gilda instilled into Dorothy was Hope . . . letting her know that with hope, it’s possible that she can get back home . . . then, directing her on the path to take . . . the yellow brick road. Prisoners find Gilda in some attorneys who have integrity concerning their work. This also instill that same hope that it is possible to get back home if you take the right path. (This doesn’t apply to all prisoners.)

Then comes the Wicked Witch . . . who will do anything and everything to prevent Dorothy from going home. I link the District Attorneys (prosecutors) to the wicked witch, many have over-zealous and deceptive ways, foul tactics and they use fabricating testimonies to prevent a prisoners from going home when they know for a fact that certain prisoners are innocent of the crime of which they were accused.

On Dorothy’s journey, she meets a Scarecrow who became willing to help Dorothy in hopes of receiving a brain. In prison, a prisoner meets other prisoners who are willing to assist them in their fight for freedom. In doing this, we come to realize that we must use our brain . . . think . . . to develop knowledge and understanding of criminal law to change the injustice to justice.

Recall in the movie when the Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion were trapped and about to be captured by the witches’guards? The Scarecrow paused to THINK. That mornent, he realized, if he had the Tinman take his axe and cut the rope that held up the candle lighting it would fall directly on the guards, and enable them to escape. So you see both the prisoner and the Scarecrow had knowledge and understanding (brains), and with the help of others, we can really put them to use. I’ve run into a lot of prisoners who are frustrated because of the injustice that has been done to them, and with the help of other they learn how to keep their composure and focus, and learn how to use their brain the right way, and find their way home.

The comes the Tinman in need of a heart. He has been isolated for a long time, and the loneliness made him feel as though he didn’t have a heart. Some prisoners also have been isolated for a long time and feel they don’t have a heart . . . because of the loneliness,they rust on love as the Tinman. One of the worst things in the world is loneliness . . . not feeling love. Dorothy came into the Tinman’s life and showed him with love and affection through a simple can of oil. Each time the Tinman felt a little rush, Dorothy would relieve him with the oil can making him feeel so alive and loved, uplifting his spirits. The Tinman wanted to give back the love by protecting on her quest for home.

A lot of prisoners get that same kind of oil can (unconditional love) from family/friends through a simple letter/card in the mail, feeling that love and affection from another, relieving us and lifting our spirits. Some prisoners have been isolated for a long duration of time and don’t feel any love because of the loneliness.When a person life our spirit we find we have a heart.

Last comes the Lion, who is in search of courage. For so long he fronted on people like he had courage but, deep down inside, he was a coward. Dorothy saw this cowardliness and then he admitted it. He went with Dorothy to gain courage and each step of the way he became stronger, willing to face people and lose the fear. All he needed was someone to help him challenge his own fears within himself.

In prison, there are many prisoners who are truly cowards and hide behind groups(associates). Many are really afraid to challenge the injustice that has been done or put on some. Then, with the help of others, they begin to challenge the fears within themselves, leave the group (associates), and stand up to the injustice, not just for self, but for others also. Both the lion and prisoner had courage all the time, but needed another to bring it out and face life.

Also in prison, many prisoners think they must be strong to develop heart and courage to take on life’s problems. I came to learn that a heart isn’t judge by how strong one might be physically, as they think at times in prison. It’s judge by how much love other have for that individual. During my stay here,which has been over twenty-three years, I explain to a young person that I have never been into a confrontation with a staff member or prisoner. Why? Because of the respect I give and receive . . . not because of who I am or where I came from.

I recall in my teens, when I was in society, I used to always go outside in search of happiness. Now I fine Dorothy saying, “Sometimes happiness is not beyond our own back yard.” I had that happiness in a house I stayed in with seven beautiful females who showered me with unconditional love every day. True happiness is what I had . . . and thinking of them makes me agree with Dorothy 100%: There’s no place like home.