I Am the Victor

by Dawn (Staples) Jones
June 2008



No. That word could never describe what it felt like to walk out of The Ohio State University Hospital in shackles and leave my two-day old daughter waiting for Butler County Children’s Services to come pick her up. It was the worst feeling I have ever felt in my life, and there are no words to describe it.

My name is Dawn Jones, better known as Staples. I’ve been a resident at Franklin Pre-Release Center for 14 months. My daughter will be one-year old the 30th of this month [March, 2008], and I haven’t seen her since the day I left her at the hospital. Her dad was in rehab when she was born, and everyone else who has applied for custody of my daughter has been turned down.

My best friend of 16 years is trying to get custody now and my husband is also working his case plan. It’s been a battle that isn’t over yet. I have 15 months left on a three-year sentence, and I’ve been denied for judicial release three times already. I’m more than halfway there, but still so far away. I have to admit that of all the crazy things I’ve been through, this surpasses it all. I’ve never felt pain like this, and I never want to again. But, through all the chaos that is now my life, I made a decision: I refuse to walk out of those gates the same person I was when I walked through them. I learned that this prison has a lot to offer me. I just have to be willing to work for it. I have put my trust in God to see me through because I know I can’t do it on my own.

So, I have been busy. I’ve earned 16 certificates in the time I have been here, and I am now taking drafting classes. When I finish drafting, I will be a drafting tutor while I take business management through Wilmington College. I also direct the silent choir where we do sign language to Christian music. I do cross-stitching and I read my Bible. When I’m not doing all that, I write.

I was asked a very good question by a very dear friend of mine. She asked, “If your daughter got adopted, and you didn’t get to see her until she decided to come looking for you, what would she find?” That question motivates me when I get down. I have decided that I’m not going to be the victim. I am going to be the victor!