Monday, October 2, 2017

We Have Been Busy and My Email

We are still trying to get into the blogger rhythm again.  Sadie is starting to write again to send it to me.  I have joined Fl-Cure, a prison reform organization.  Here is a copy of an email I sent yesterday to the warden and the higher-ups in Tallahassee.  I have sent about 300 emails since my daughter has been incarcerated (finally counted them).  Nothing has changed that much because, in reality, the guards are the problem and the lack of relevant rehabilitation programs..  There are a few nice ones, but most are not.  Below is the email and the link is at the bottom.

I am assuming DOC wants to reduce the high recidivism rates and to give inmates the opportunity to do well once they are released.

The article below lists all the reasons why former inmates do not tend to do well on the outside especially without a good support system.

My first question is why do the officers address the inmates as inmate instead of by their last name or at least ma'am and sir.  What is the rationale behind that.  That practice alone is demoralizing, psychologically damaging and in truth psychological abuse.  It gives the message that you are worthless and that you don't matter which gives the officers permission to treat inmates accordingly with verbal abuse and a lack of civility, empathy and compassion.  How is that conducive to rehabilitation and the reduction of recidivism? This may seem like a minor issue, but it is, in actuality, a huge issue.  Have someone call us by a derogatory term day in and day out and see how that effects us. 

I know I have sent articles about the prison system in Germany where they have a humane and rehabilitative approach to incarceration where the officers are well-trained, are mentors who mingle with the inmates and dine with them.  They have officers who are trained in how to calm situations down without violence or aggression.  So, it can be done.  And if Germany is able to do it, there is no reason on earth that we cannot begin to follow suite.

The only reason we are here on this planet is because of Love-to learn to love ourselves and each other.  We all make mistakes and hopefully we learn from them.  Inmates are redeemable and most of them are good human beings who made bad decisions mostly due to addiction issues or mental health issues. Their situation gives us the opportunity to practice empathy, compassion and forgiveness-attributes the prison system is lacking and that has to change if we truly want the recidivism rate to go down.  My personal feeling is after talking with other families and former inmates is that until the guards are trained better, are held accountable for their behavior and the inmates are not afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation or being placed in confinement, nothing is going to change.  

I know I must sound airy-fairy but I am speaking to the heart of each of you.  How would you want your loved one to be treated under these circumstances?  These are our brothers and sisters and we are all on a journey towards our Creator.  Life is short and our job is to make life better for each other which includes the inmates.  I have met a lot of former inmates and I am impressed by what good-hearted and decent human beings they truly are.  There are always those who will never learn or change but they still deserve out love and support.

And we need funding to actually create the relevant programs that will build their self-worth and self-esteem so they are confident in their abilities when they transition out.  We also need better pay and a higher standard for officers.


Kathy Carlin

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