An Excellent Student

Posted: January 27, 2013 by Ed Griffin in Prison, Reform
Tags: , , , , , , ,

educationA young man came to my prison writing class every week. He loved the group, the interchange among the guys, the debates, the stimulus. I soon found out he was a very curious young man. He kept me hoping – and learning myself – What is a euphemism? What does it mean ‘to show, not tell?’ Who are some famous authors from my heritage?

He never missed a session.

Unrelated to our class, he broke a rule. I don’t know what rule he broke, but his punishment was not to come to the writing class anymore. I hit the ceiling. Since when has education been used as a punishment? Denying a man a class that he liked and did well in – what kind of educational policy was that?

I complained to different levels of prison officials. Of course my complaint went nowhere. It seemed that because he liked the class, they took it away from him.

As might be expected, trouble followed trouble and soon the young man was shipped to higher security.

This young man is out of prison now and is doing well. He doesn’t seem to be bitter and I hope he continues that way.

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  1. Joanne says:

    I like the happy ending!

  2. What type of rehabilitation is that? How can we expect inmates to grow as people if we find new extreme ways of inflicting punishment? The verdict has been read and the punishment decided. They are in prison and may be there for a very long time. The least we can do as a society is help them learn something. This person might have broken a rule but the rule had nothing to do with your writing class. Any consequences given should have been related to the original infraction. He had a desire to learn and this should have been cultivated not stripped from him. I am glad this man has since been released and is doing well. Things don’t always turn out this way.

  3. Catana says:

    Those in power use your weaknesses to manipulate and punish. Liking anything, in those circumstances, is a weakness. It’s a miracle that this man survived without bitterness.

  4. This is typical. Yes, it is the case that CSC staff commonly resent inmates being given any kind of education (unless you count the being-a-better-criminal stuff that they receive from other inmates). A friend who taught at Stony Mountain heard from Correctional Officers that they didn’t like inmates getting a better education than they (the Officers) did (which says something, also, about the educational attainments of Correcctional Officers!). But their resentment extends much further than that, to anything and everything done for the benefit of inmates, including all the rehabilitative stuff CSC pretends it is doing, but doesn’t. Staff has a difficult time doing assessments and rehabilitative programs anyway, because they are lazy and incompetent, but this is compounded by the fact that they don’t like doing them and, at CSC, if they don’t feel like it, they don’t have to do it, or can screw it up as much as they like. All of this explains why all of their “programs” do no better at rehabilitation than the spontaneous desistence that occurs among criminals anyway. In other jurisdictions, of course, these assessments and programs are done properly and do significantly diminish recidivism. On the other hand, CSC staff do love increasing security classifications, and placing inmates in “the hole”.

  5. I seldom leave remarks, but i did a few searching
    and wound up here An Excellent Student | Prison Uncensored – The Truth Behind
    the Bars. And I actually do have a few questions for you if you do not mind.
    Is it just me or does it seem like a few of the comments look like they are coming from brain dead folks?
    😛 And, if you are writing at additional social
    sites, I’d like to follow everything new you have to post. Would you make a list of all of your social pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

    • Ed Griffin says:

      Thank you for your comment. I’m aware that I may be “preaching to the choir.” That is, that I’m writing to people that agree with me. However I feel this prison situation deeply. Many men and women are being hurt by an institution that is supposed to help them.
      I’m new to social media, so I have to say that all I have are these two blogs. I have a facebook page, but I seldom write anything different there.
      Ed Griffin

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