Archive for August, 2014

Another example of the prison system’s inability to stand up for what is right involves sterile needles used for tattoos.

Prisoners use all manner of tools to do tattoos, none of them sterile. The result of this was infection with hepatitis and/or other diseases. The prison staff knew that in the long run sterile needles would lead to big savings of money and lives. So they allowed the men to set up sort of a tattoo parlor in the basement of Matsqui prison. The needles used were sterile and nobody got sick.

Someone in the community got the word that those convicts were getting free tattoos in the basement of Matsqui prison.

As they always seem to do, the prison staff caved in. The tattoo parlor was closed. Apparently it didn’t matter if men got Hepatitis A, B, or C. What was important was the image of the prison.

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Store Page http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GFGEBMG

The Book that was Banned in a Canadian prison.

Delaney’s Dream: to create a new type of prison in northern Wisconsin.
Delaney’s Nightmare: The first inmates he gets seem bent on destroying his dream.
Delaney’s Despair: Teaching the staff, the inmates, and the community to understand a new form of prison.
Delaney’s Hope: That his radical experiment will yield positive results before the volatile mixture blows up in his face.
Delaney’s Hope: An explosive book that has a powerful message for our era.

Apology

Posted: August 17, 2014 by Ed Griffin in Uncategorized

A summer flu has knocked me out today. I’ll be back next week

Ed

In the nineties, a warden in the Ferndale Minimum Security prison got behind a project to turn an unused portion of land into a 9-hole golf course. Inmates were to develop the project and maintain it, then they could use it. The warden, Ron Wiebe did a good job in keeping the lines of communication open with neighbors and local community groups. The golf course opened. Inmates got to play a few days week, seniors groups and other community groups had some other days.

All went well until community protest started. “Those bums should not be playing golf, they should be taking programs to reform themselves.”

Readers’ Digest came out with a feature article on Ferndale, asking “Do our prisons have to be country clubs?” in the headline. The article focused on the facts that the place was attractive, well-maintained and comfortable, but neglected the fact that it was the free labor of the inmates who kept it so. The heat increased, and sadly, the prison system in Canada has never learned to stand up to the heat on any project.

Inmate students were learning how to maintain a golf course. Inmates were enjoying a positive form of recreation. But no matter. The inmates were banned from using the golf course they had created.

Dennis Haines has written articles for us in the past.

I’m back with my continuing adventures in the real world. The irony is that I have noticed that “real world squares” are not that much different from cons in the joint in some ways. In the month and a half that I have been out I have been observing people and how much the same we are. And to think that I used to feel like I didn’t fit in with normal people and now I find out that we aren’t that different after all.

Case in point, I take the same bus to work every day Monday to Friday at roughly 6:30 am and there are a group of regulars who are taking the same bus. I find that I always sit in the same spot and that everyone else tries to as well. The funny part is that if someone is sitting in someone else’s regular spot, you can actually see the annoyance on their faces at the interruption in their routine. It brings me to mind of people’s spots in the dining room in the institution, except it doesn’t end in violence.

That’s not the only place I notice the same type of behavior. In the lunch room where I work everyone has staked a claim to their chairs and although I don’t believe they would get violent over it, they will tell you if you are sitting in their spot.

So what I’m getting at is that I find it strangely comforting that regular people exhibit the same behaviors that I’m used to from the institutions. I was concerned with my level of institutionalization, but I’m finding that observing the world and putting it in perspective is really helping me along. As people we are all the same, and we all have our little comfort zones. Sometimes these zones are challenged, but it’s our reactions that set us apart.

I write these types of thoughts as a little bit of therapy for myself but also in the hope that maybe someone else who is just getting out will read them as well and maybe be comforted. I hope that I can send a message of hope to someone else who just got out and may or may not be struggling. I hope to let them know that every day out in the community is an adventure just waiting to be undertaken. For me it’s my time to take life by the horns and live it in the best way I can and, if I’m lucky, I can help someone else out along the way.

Dennis Haines has told me specifically that he wants his name and email revealed. He would appreciate any comments you have. You can send them directly to him if you want. dhaines429@gmail.com