Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Working With Prison Inmates

I've been working for Florida Department of Corrections since October 2012, in Transition, Security and now Education. Following, are some thoughts on what I have experienced. My writing may seem to soften or humanize the inmates in the prison setting, but I am looking at the big picture as I write this. Some of the inmates have done some truly horrific things, all of them some really bad things, or they wouldn't be in prison!   Just last week, one of my best Inmate Teaching Assistants put himself into Protective Management because he got beat up and his watch stolen. This past weekend three inmates from my institution went to the hospital due to stabbing related incidents.  This isn't secret news I'm sharing, it was on the front page of the Daytona papers.

Also be sure, I intend no disrespect to the officers, or administration in this post.  They do the best that they can to protect all inmates, security, civilian staff and the public. The image above is from California (see photo credit below, used with permission), but it is a likeness of my institution.

Working With Prison Inmates
Working in the prison system has caused me to realize
the value of the individual in God’s eyes.
The rough exterior of the inmates is usually a facade,
to mask the guilt, pain and shame of crimes they've committed.
If one looks beyond the sea of blue clothing
and into the eyes of the individuals,
you’ll see they may have been acquitted as criminals by God,
but not by the state and usually not by themselves.

Re-Entry, transition and betterment are the clich├ęs of the system,
but it does not address the needs of the victims;
not excluding the scars left on the families of those incarcerated,
when their sons attempt to become exonerated, by fulfilling their obligation to the courts.

It is our job as corrections staff to uphold safety and order,
while at the same time maintain a border of impartiality and professionalism.
Care, but not too much. Custody, but doing so humanely. Control, but not degrading.
All the time crusading, for maintaining the dignity of the individual,
the organization we represent, and the One who called us to this important position.

Photo Credit Link Many thanks to the CA Department of Corrections.. 

This post is written only from my opinion and experience.  In no way does it express the policies, procedures and management policies of the Florida Department of Corrections or the State of Florida.

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