Category: Warden Henry Pope (Gen)
Summary: He is the warden, the power, and the caretaker of souls.
All God’s Children need loving and giving. This, the power of The Lord provides.
Henry Pope has been living and believing those words all his life, and he renews them every day. His children here in prison all are damaged, every one of them lost and broken. There are killers, rapists, robbers, fighters, and they are the challenge set out before him. It’s a double-edged sword, protecting society from these men while trying to mold them into something better, and that second part is the one that usually fails.
You cannot build dignity where you do not offer it, and he stresses this in his work. You must deal with men as if they matter, especially when they don’t believe it themselves. Pope treats his prisoners like the men he wants them to become. And as with all children, repetition and patience are required before results can be seen. Sometimes it is weeks. And in some cases, he is still waiting.
Respect must be given to be earned, and a leader must be prepared to take the first step. He cannot give these men a new history, but he can guide them down a better path. Hope has a power that the heart cannot describe. Once given or found, it can draw a man from darkness. Hope is the light that reaches to the soul, and Henry Pope has never underestimated its potential, or the brutal impact it causes when it dies. He has felt them both himself, in the desire to be forgiven and in the child he’ll never know.
Pope knows that people can meet your best and worst expectations, so it is important to be careful what you look for. He is driven to seek out the humane approach to a situation, in his behavior and in the results that come of it. He knows that even a predator can feel pain at the loss of a loved one, and he reflects on this when giving Bagwell the awful news about his cousins. And when Bagwell’s tears and despair are real, like any other man’s, Pope thanks the Lord for helping him to be kind.
He hates his job but loves his mission, and he rides the line every day between doing the right thing for a particular inmate and losing control over the prison or his standing as its director. It’s a balancing act and a lifetime of effort, but he thinks that over time the Good wins out whenever it can.
Some days are all refusals-- Westmoreland’s daughter, Burrows’ son. There is heartache in his choices, and so much more he wants to give. But he is shackled by his position, afraid to offer too much lest it cost him his job. He wants more for Fox River, for the destiny of its souls, and he’s sure that any other warden would not care so much. He cannot risk his larger vision for the kindness of a given moment, and it hurts him that these so rarely coincide.
His goal each day is this: find the man inside the anger, and a reason for him to care.
He can count his successes on two hands, and he knows them all by name. But this is victory, and he knows it, for those men and for the world.
When those children leave the nest, Pope is satisfied and proud. He has given them a future.
And they’ll give God something back.
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