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.