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General Prison Talk Discuss Sad letters? in the Prison Related forums; Hi everyone. I was just wondering if any of you have ever received a letter from a pen pal, that ...
  1. #1
    bookworm is offline Member
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    Default Sad letters?

    Hi everyone. I was just wondering if any of you have ever received a letter from a pen pal, that kind of made you sad?

    One pal often talks about the intense lonliness that he and his fellow inmates experience on a daily basis, being caged up like animals, and isolated from the outside world. Some of them have been all but forgotten by their family and so-called friends on the "outside".

    And in a recent letter, he was telling me about how some inmates are SO desperate for companionship, that they will keep bugs, spiders, lizards and mice for pets! He said he had a pet spider once, but the officers confiscated it! He was heartbroken!

    He was telling me about these feral kittens that have taken up residence at the prison, and how much he loves watching them frolic and play in the grass, and watching them grow. I guess a lot of the inmates will save food for the cats, and feed them.

    Well, the warden has a BIG problem with this. He threatened to trap them in these cruel steel cages, and promised to write up any inmates who were caught feeding or interacting with the cats.

    This really upset me. First off, it upset me to hear how lonesome these men are, and how desperate they are for a little affection and companionship. It just brought tears to my eyes.

    Second, I thought what is the big deal? I mean it isn't like the cats are house pets. Chances are if animal control is called, these healthy, vibrant animals will just be put down! So, why not allow some of the inmates to take them in, and keep them as pets? I mean, shouldn't the warden be ENCOURAGING displays of care and concern for another living thing? I think it would be good for the inmates mental and emotional health, and it would also instill a sense of responsibility in them, and teach them empathy. Animals would not judge them, like other people do. If the inmate were to treat the animal with love and tenderness, the animal would give it back in return.

    These men are STILL human beings. I just HATE how prison staff treat the inmates. I don't know why they seem to derive so much pleasure out of being meanspirited and cruel.
    I just feel so bad for my pen pals. For those people who think that prison is a walk in the park, they should actually talk to these inmates! It is far from it. Prison is hell on earth! It is hard for me, because I love my pen pals so much, and there is so little that I can do to help them, or make their lives better. I know that they have made some mistakes, but I do not feel that ANY human being deserves to be treated this way. It just breaks my heart.


    Lisa

  2. #2
    gobbi is offline Not Active
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    That would really 'break' me - i am a real cat-lover and I wouldn't be able to watch cats getting trapped and so on. I would agree with you when you say 'what is the big deal..' because they are not taking the cats into their cells with them, they are merely feeding them outside, and it is their food that they are using to feed the cats. Doesn't seem like it's doing any harm to anyone really.

    I remember though, when I was on the Kibbutz, we were warned not to feed the ferel cats, because they became a nuisance, and we DIDN'T LISTEN - then one of the 'top dogs' told two guys to 'get rid of the cats' and the way in which these two guys 'got rid of the cats' was absolutely unbearable - it was so bad that when they were found out - well I mean, when it was found out what / how they did what they did, they were not only kicked off the kibbutz, but they were sent back to the UK and they.. went to jail.. for cruelty to animals - good, I say! They were really bad to these poor things! I had nightmares for years about them and how they must have suffered!

    In answer to your question - my pals don't really talk about sad things that happen within their particular prisons, they talk more about how they personally feel about being there, and the things that haunt them - and some of those letters are heart-breaking.

  3. #3
    asha Guest

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    I think the deal with feral cats is they can sometimes carry disease, especially eye infections and conjuntivitis so it might just be something like that.

    There are programs though for inmates to keep dogs and cats in their cells for training and to give them homes while they are up for adoption. I have seen it done in female prisons but I cant find any info for male facilities at least on the internet.

    It would be something that your pal or pals would have to petition the warden about. Chances are he wont let it happen if they can't even have spiders. )-:

  4. #4
    smiley is offline Super Member
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    Lisa, they do have some prisons that allow dogs.www.pathwaystohope.org/prison.htm
    I think these kinds of programes can only be benificial to the inmates, i would hope that with time it maybe introduced into many more facilities.

    It does sadden me how inmates are treated, and what they go through at the hands of not only there peers, but officers as well as the system.
    I can also see the other side where the prisoners get so frustrated they retaliate with violence, which in turn is directed at the guards, (the system). Who would not be a changed person going to work in a max security prison day in day out dealing with offenders, that have no care for their life let alone anyone elses?
    Throwing bio chemical war fare (faeces and urine) directed at you, spitting, trying to physically attack you, crude and rude remarks everytime you walk by. This is the life experience of some guards. No i am not saying it in any way justifies the harsh treatment some offenders get at the hands of over zealous workers. What i am saying is there is always the perception of the person telling their story.
    If you can understand what i mean, not trying to offend.
    Never grow a wishbone, daughter,
    where your backbone ought to be.

    ~Clementine Paddleford~

  5. #5
    asha Guest

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    Great site Smiley! Lots of photos. I had been looking for the male facilities also and there it is.

  6. #6
    bookworm is offline Member
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    asha:

    I have heard of the programs you mentioned, being introduced into prisons, and I think it is a great idea! I heard of a similar program(I believe it was called "Project Second Chance&quot for young offenders. Their job would be to socialize and train dogs with behavioral problems, so that they were able to be put up for adoption at some point.

    I remember seeing a segment about the program on some news show. However, the only downside was, that these kids would end up getting attached to the dogs, and had a very difficult time letting go. It was quite sad, because of course most of these young people have been abandoned before, and to have to take an animal that they had befriended away from them. Well, it was just heartbreaking.

    I also heard of a program where inmates trained seeing eye dogs. That is great, because it would give the inmate a sense that he/she was giving something back to society, and making a contribution.

    Smiley:

    I did not take offence to your remarks. I do understand what you are saying. However, remember, they CHOSE to work in that environment, and no doubt were aware of all of the job hazards beforehand. The question for me is, WHY would someone WANT to be a correctional officer? I think that many of them are motivated by a desire for power, but that is just my own personal opinion.

    If one was really interested in HELPING inmates, they would work with them in a different capacity, such as a social worker, teacher or chaplain for instance. Inmates do not trust or respect CO's, which is understandable. So is the resentment that they feel towards them. And besides, even on their worst day, at least CO's eventually get to go home, and see their families. So, they are much better off than the inmates under their care. And it is also important to remember that there is a HUGE imbalance of power between the inmates and the guards. Let's face it.Chances are a CO could get away with just about anything. After all, who is going to take the word of an imate over a guard? Few people.

    I would NEVER want to be a C.O. I just wouldn't have the heart to lock human beings up in cages, and treat them like animals. I don't think that there is nearly enough emphasis on rehabilitation in the prison system, but that is my opinion.

    Anyway, I will definitely check out that website Smiley, and tell my pen pal all about it. From what he has told me about the warden, I doubt that he would go for it. He does not sound like a very nice man. But it would certainly be worth a try, right?

    Oh, and one last thing I noticed. I could be wrong. This is just a personal observation. I've corresponded with both male and female inmates, and it seems to me that females are treated better than their male counterparts. There are also better rehabilitative and therapeutic programs available to female inmates. I am not sure why that is, exactly? But it doesn't seem fair to me. After all, equality is a two way street, right?

    Lisa

  7. #7
    asha Guest

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    Yeah, Bookworm I think it is a great idea for inmates, female or male. I also do it. I got involved after hurricane Katrina and took on a foster dog named Pete (Pete was his real name I later found out but I called him Jolly) Anyway, Pete was reunited with his owner in Mississippi when he saw the photo posted on the net! It was fantastic! However, I had Pete for 4 months and grew attached so it was bitter sweet to see him leave of course. I have since taken on several foster dogs with training guidance and have even placed biters set to be put down. I won’t tell you its easy and I have had some scary, frightened animals (they tend to keep giving harder cases the more experience you have) but god, it is so rewarding.

    This is ideal for inmates willing to take it on in their cells. Not to mention for prisoners getting out, it does give them an excellent job training skill as people always have dogs with training problems that need help or else they can work in shelters, vet clinics, sky is the limit.

    I do hear ya though. The inmates can become very attached to the dogs and cats and it can be difficult to let go when prospective adopters come. They do need to fully understand it will be a temporary arrangement and some can’t cope because of their backgrounds and loss.

    It’s not for all inmates, but for the ones willing to give it a shot, it’s a definite help in their rehabilitation and the ability to trust and love again. Some prisons also offer free spay and neuter clinics.

  8. #8
    smiley is offline Super Member
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    Lisa, speaking about being a CO, i don't look at, or see it the way you do......

    I think a lot are just like you and i trying to do a hard days work, bringing a pay check home to feed there families.

    From my understanding through the eye's of my friend, which are tainted anyway, being in the situation he is from an early age.
    He has told me many stories about CO's. Has said some are a lot worse than the prisoners they look after, and are on a power trip like you have stated, wondering how on earth did they ever get a job.
    Some of these are weeded out of the system, some are obviously left.

    On the flip side he has told me many stories of CO's that are liked and even some what respected by the inmates.
    How on a sunny day many years ago when the Co's had a BBQ, one guard had snuck back a BBQ rib for him in a napkin, for no other reason than to be nice.
    A time when he first went to the prison he is in now, (you need to understand he went in as a 17 year old about 17 years ago) and a guard noticed he always went and sat on a bench near the chapel. Asked why he did this and he explained. So this guard arranges for him to go into one of the buildings that are off limits to him, and have about 2 hours to himself just sitting looking out a window with no wire to obstruct his view. (That letter was amazing), He only did this the once, as it was so foreign to him. It made him feel uncomfortable that the guards were treating him like a person and not just a number. Which in it'self is sad right there.

    He told me of when he was 23 and he had seen a Deer for the first time, how he went too close to the fence just to watch it. Guards were screaming at him to back away, he kept moving forward. He was so taken in by the Deer he wasn't aware of what was taking place around him. That is until he was rushed and brought to the ground. He had to go before some kind of Sgt i think from memory, anyways he was given an opportunity to speak and say why. When the Sgt heard his reason, he laughed and said "son haven't you seen a Deer before?". To which my friend replied "no". He was suppose to get a whole lot of time in solitary, but instead this Sgt only sent him for a short stint with a warning.

    There are many good people inside of prison that have hard jobs, the one's keeping the inmates locked up, and the inmates just trying to survive in there dog eat dog world. It is just the sad reality of it.

    I also think you do not need a degree of any kind to be of help to an inmate. You can be the CO, that makes a difference to a persons life. A CO probably has on a daily basis more influence than many others in authority around the inmates. Like i have said this is my belief from my perception. I have not been an inmate, nor have i been an officer.

    We have a Prison in our town, and a little while back a man who was very unstable held a counsellor hostage in an enclosed room. She was very well liked by inmates and her peers.
    He proceeded to rape her repeatedly with different objects and held her hostage for many hours threatening to take her life and his own etc.
    When all came to an end and he was back in cuffs, and her in the Hospital being treated, there was one guard in particular that felt extremeley responsible, as he felt his job was there to protect all.
    He was so burdened with all that had taken place, found it very hard to cope with the guilt of what happened to this young lady.
    He was married with daughters, one of which is friendly with my own. The girl had a parent teacher interview one afternoon not long after what had taken place at the Prison. Her dad never showed.....he was found dead, he was a father, a good person. He was a CO.
    Never grow a wishbone, daughter,
    where your backbone ought to be.

    ~Clementine Paddleford~

  9. #9
    lindyxox is offline Junior Member
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    wow that really saddens me that they arent allowed to have any animal company.. In the australian jails they aren't allowed to have spiders either because of fear that they would get bitten and if its poisonous can be fatal to them considering it takes them an aweful long time to be seen by a doctor...
    But here they can have birds in the jail and thats ok with the wardens.. they have been known to keep mice as pets too, and in some cases they can have goldfish too i think. It breaks my heart to see the way they get treated too...

  10. #10
    CET
    CET is offline Member
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    I think that those in charge of prisons wamt to convey to the inmates and to the public that prison is a place of punishment. Often we hear that some prisons are like country clubs. This image is not politically popular, so extreme measures are taken to prevent this perception. Institutions are not designed to be humane, but to serve a social need in terms solving social problems. Humans are reduced to the lowest priority while the convenience of the institution reigns. This leaves little room for kindness or consideration for the individual. We all know that it isn't a rose garden.

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