When I read that a “Reader” requested this title for the month of December, I had to pause my thinking. Because I knew when selected members of society saw it, many would have preconceived concepts about what kind of “Help” prisoners “Need”, and how they can (or if they should) provide it. To those I would say: Don’t take it personal, look at it in a broader sense (unless you know an individual prisoner(s) who relies on your support). The “Help Needed” is that which would provide a more conducive prison environment for Rehabilitation. This in turn will ensure that prisoners being released back into their respective communities, will no longer pose a threat therein, and too, be a productive member thereof.
I’m sure that many prisoners writing under this topic will address the many needed programs that has been removed over the years, and some may even come up with some fresh ideas for additional programing. My primary focus in this post will be “Rehabilitation” … not for prisoners, but for those that the Michigan Department of Corrections hold out as our examples … Corrections Officers!
When I entered the system in 1977, I had a healthy respect for the “Prison Guards” and very little for the “System”. This role has been reversed. I have learned to respect the system and the “Corrections Officers” (most) have shown they’re no longer worthy of respect. What does this mean?
When “Corrections Officers” are not trained to deal with human beings, they come in with a cavalier attitude that’s centered around imposing their wills, and control. This is a direct result of training that consist primary of dealing with aggressive and animalistic behavior, as opposed to dealing with thinking, inspiring human beings.
So I think that the most profound change that can take place, is reinstating the training of the Corrections Officers to include dealing with human beings; thus, making them fit and worthy of the very title they prefer to be called these days: “Corrections Officers.” You can’t correct the behavior of those with whom you’re given charge, if your behavior is identical to theirs (like trying to remove the mote in someone else eye, with a beam in your own). I have watched to many men leave prison with the wrong attitude because of petty harassments & tickets from “Corrections Officers”, just prior to their release. This is not to say that all Corrections Officers are bad, they’re not. I’ve had intelligent conversations with many of them. However, under these adverse conditions, “One bad apple, can truly spoil the whole bunch”, with trickle down effects on members of society.
Re-training/Rehabilitating the “Guards” will go a long way in Motivating, and bringing about, The Change the reader spoke of.
“My dedication is keeping the promise I made to myself” (Duval Newsome El #149982/November 28, 2020)