Andy Dixon spent 27 years behind the razor wire of Tennessee’s most notorious prisons.
Born to a family decimated by crime, Andy’s path to prison was carved into map lines at an age where most of us are pining over our first bike riding lesson.
Like many children trapped in this barbed-wire spin cycle of incarceration, there was never a doubt that Andy would eventually go to prison – it was just a matter of when his time would come.
Most of us have never experienced the realities of prison. It’s imagery, not intimate or actual. It’s television dreams and the Hollywood hustle that we so often interact with, but from a safe distance.
Andy’s story is a real human story – of these harsh realities of prison, but also of the very human process of transformation and how powerful that process can be.
The Tao of Andy
Most people that meet Andy for the first time are shocked by what is vs. what they perceive. I refer to it as the “andy factor.”
He discusses prison in a similar context that you or I might discuss having dinner with a friend, but it’s not to trivialize the impact of incarceration. It’s simply acceptance of prison’s part in his story.
He never sugarcoats the reasons why he deserved his time, often stating that “I didn’t get sent to prison for going to church.”
Andy’s powerful example of human reinvention could be a light for millions of children auto set to the same prison-bound path their parents and relatives walked before them.
This is why I believe this story has to be told.
Andy and his wife Linda, who he met while in the Tennessee prison system, have devoted much of their energy and passion to reversing the cycle of generational incarceration and the effects of prison on America’s youth. To date, they have helped hundreds inside and outside the system find hope and healing.
i am convicted is one component supporting a larger purpose: To influence a positive paradigm shift in America’s prison system, from a focus on punishment to rehabilitation and restitution.
We launched i am convicted in June 2011 as a WIP novel and “first draft” of Andy’s story.
Combining a work-in-progress novel with a blog, we’re experimenting with methodologies for building a community of advocates emotionally invested in the success of our story – before it it’s spit shined and ready to be published.
If nothing else, we hope that this story will foster a deeper dialogue on the 19th century behaviors that dominate inside our prison walls.
We’re all convicted of something. For me, it’s being convicted of telling a story that I believe can be a beacon of hope and change.