Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I wrote a post late last night about lockdowns and my perceived benefit of having the unit shut down for a minute. Reading it this morning, I realized that what I had written, attempting to convey the feeling of relief that comes from being "off duty" for a little while, instead came across as callous and dismissive. That's not how I see myself, and not a message that I want to convey, so I deleted the post.

One of the things I struggle with in my job is public perception and public opinion of inmates. This unfortunately sometimes carries over to coworkers as well. There's this idea that BECAUSE they are serving sentences, that gives us as society a right to dismiss them, write them off, or treat them in such a way that suggests they are "less than" the rest of us. And that's something that drives me crazy, makes me cringe, and raises my hackles. The truth is, prison, the physical location, IS the punishment. Beyond that, attitudes and judgements are cruel and unnecessary. Yes, sometimes the women that I work with act out, and yes, they wear me out sometimes. Yes, some of them have done horrific, awful things. But that doesn't make them bad people. I don't want to give the impression that I "deal with" the women at work. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to make a difference, to maybe be the first constant or to provide tools for the future, and I see that as a privilege. But sometimes, like in parenting, I get tired or distracted and I forget what an amazing chance I have, everyday, to make the world a little better.

I apologize if you read my last post and got a bad impression about inmates. Yes, I appreciated the break, but today, with it's chaos and drama and rush is a lot more fun.


  1. I totally do not think you should have deleted that post. I read it and I thought to myself, we all need "breaks" or 'reprieve' in whichever form we can get from the daily grind. Lord knows I need breaks from the bs I deal with at work. I did not read your post as judgment to inmates, at all- rather perspective on moments we need as 'breaks' whether it is from work, parenting or life. Your analogy rocked that it is like a timeout... I am convinced the reason children have naps is for parents. We need to refresh. Ironically I read your post after being up with Adeline's puking all over 2wice, and it offered me a moment to "refresh."
    I do have to say though, I sure appreciate the delicacy with which you approach your population, you are quite the advocate. I also admire your ability to express yourself.

  2. I read it, too, and didn't feel that you were being at all judgemental. Time outs are a good thing for everybody. The "acting outers" get to chill, everybody else gets to relax. I happen to know some offenders, and they aren't bad people - just people who made bad choices. You do make a difference - mostly by caring that you can make a difference in someone's life whether prison is their temporary, or permanent home. You are a gift.

  3. Now I'm feeling like I missed out on reading your post! Although it has seemed like ages since working with you, even in my current work--with a very different population--I have the periodic strong desire for "lockdown." I relish no-shows and the opportunity to hang out at my desk and actually think through a case conceptualization, or heck, read articles on NPR. In my experience it's the workaholics who never need a break that you've gotta worry about...

    I am certain that in your work you are present and available, and that is what matters. Even when I sit for 10 mins before session thinking "I hope I get a no-show," I'm so honored to have my job when they come in.