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In prison, the best holiday gift can be the most simple.
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Ahead of the holidays, I asked people inside Western Missouri Correctional Center about the best gifts they’ve received since being here. 

Lenny R.: Receiving money from my friends to purchase my electronics and, of course, the stimulus check.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: I don’t find happiness in material things. The best gift I ever received was my first Bible and freedom through Christ.

Mr. Comten: When I received my stimulus check and bought my TV.

Mr. Lance: Old friends coming back to my life after many years [when I thought] almost everybody had forgotten about me. I have received money from them and regular visits, and I feel useful again.

Allen H.: The people in this place that look out for me and talk to me, as well as my cousin Daniel who is married, and my niece Zona.

Paul B.: Honestly man, my three stimulus checks from the government. I mean, $3,200 was good!           

H. Sean: My everyday life and my regular visits are my special gifts.

Mr. Erik: Many friends that spend time with me at a regular basis for food visits. But the greatest gift — besides God — is my ex-mother-in-law. For the last 16 years that I have been in prison, she has helped me financially and even visited me. That’s great, man.

Mathew G.: My Bible [is one great gift], but the most special was the visit from my family and the big hugs that day after three years without them.

Mr. Rogers: Patience! Good friends here and a few pen pals outside that send me letters and postcards from around the world (because they love travel), including Israel, Japan, China, Australia and Mexico. But the most important gift is patience.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Alan Li Camarillo is a writer incarcerated in Missouri. He is using a pseudonym.