When my father was a little boy, my great-grandmother decided to hire a Muslim woman recently released from prison as the family housekeeper. Kaliani had murdered her husband in his sleep by slashing his throat with a knife. Nevertheless, my great-grandmother, a doctor of the human heart and a great believer in the human spirit, chose to hire her and trusted her with her grandchildren. She proved to be a loyal and faithful member of the household. She never hid her past from the children.

Always the jokester, my father would ask her what happened to her second husband. She would reply, “I was in the kitchen preparing food. He heard me sharpening my knife and ran away!” And the little boy who grew to become my father, a doctor for the incarcerated, would laugh and laugh.

I will always believe in rehabilitation.

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