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It's Not All Bad Behind the Walls Let's talk about the good things that happen in prison. The correctional officers that have helped us, etc.

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Old 01-19-2003, 04:05 PM
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Default A letter that a prison officer wrote

I was not sure where this goes. Sorry if it is in the wrong place. A freind of mine shared this with a group and i thought i would share it with you.

As I write you, I sit in a tower watching and waiting above one of the largest prisons in the state of Alabama.
As I was sitting, I felt a need to write a letter to tell parents and young adult some of the things that I do and see every day in my chosen profession, as a correctional officer.

I see many sorrows, few real honest smiles and less joy. The sorrows come by many things; one person may have missed an approved visit that he may have worked hard to get. The reason may have been that the inmate broke a rule and the visit was denied or postponed as a punishment, or "his people" didn't come for some reason, or no reason at all.

Many sorrows come by a death in the family or perhaps an illness, and the inmate cannot get in touch with anyone to find out what has happened, or what is being done about the situation. I have heard an inmate not much older than myself, preparing funeral arrangements for one of his parents from prison. I caught myself trying to grasp how he must have felt, and I could not imagine the pain or sorrow. Many times the only thing that they can do is to sit and wait, for hours- sometimes days. I have watched grown men break down and cry from frustration over things you and I don't ever stop to think about, such as a busy signal on a telephone.

Many of us consider no mail as a blessing, sometimes; however, many inmates consider "junk mail" as a blessing because it was sent to them alone. Many receive no mail at all, ever. Some inmates don't know where their family is, or how to contact them, sons, daughters, wives or grandchildren. No one.

Some people will carry a sorrow to their grave, because they will never see "the other side of the fence" as long as they live. Some make the best of the situation. Can you pause for a moment to think what it would be like to never watch TV alone again, or be able to watch what you wanted, or never go fishing or hunting-to hear the sound of the fall leaves rustle under you feet as you walk through the woods with you girl or your wife? If that doesn't shake you, then how about never being able to hold your husband or wife when ever you want to, to pull them close to you and tell them that you love them, never being able to share their company again, or to make love again, as long as you both shall live. You won't be able to enjoy the children as you should, or be able to watch them grow up, to watch him play football, or to watch her go out on her first date, and to wait up until she is safely home. You won't be able to see your grand children grow up, after your children get married, at the wedding you missed, because you were sitting in prison serving a sentence of "life without parole" or will sit somewhere on death row. Where some people fearing, some praying for their time to come, for the execution of their sentence.

Many of us work in a noisy environment-we will stand the pressures and the stresses of the day, to race home for the comfort of our home and to see our wife and children, waiting with open arms to greet us when we arrive.

Imagine living in an environment where the noise seldom stops and the frustrations always runs high and you have very little, in any, choice in what you eat, wear, do or go. You do the same thing day in, and day out, day after day, year after year, with little change. With no one to turn to or no one to lean on, in a place where friends are near non existent and close relationships are even more rare. Debts can cost you all that you have to you name, it can cost you your body, even your life.

My fellow officers and I come to work each day and see the toll it takes on a man to be placed behind a fence and bars, to be stripped of the most private and personal act of being a human being, such as openly caring for someone, or to cry in front of other people, because it may be taken as a weakness. You and I take our freedom for granted. I can promise you that an inmate will treasure the few moments that they get to spend on an eight hour pass with their wife and children. That is the very few inmates that are allowed to take advantage of this privilege.

Many inmates have only a letter or a postcard to hold on to, to keep them going. I have sat for hours and talked with men and their problems, such as their wife has left them, and she has custody of the children, or their parole officer is delaying a parole over a simple matter such as paper work, or a medical examination. Or the officer didn't get to it, he was on two weeks of vacation.

I have sat and looked at pictures of families, a wife, of children and pets and many other things. I have heard stories and the tales about the people in the pictures and have felt compassion for the both of them. I have even cried and prayed for these men when I was alone by my self.

I have often wondered if I had the right to shoot someone that would attempt to escape. With in my reach I have a 12 gage shotgun loaded with .00 buckshot. If the need were to arise that I should have to use it, well, it would certainly maim or kill. I have found an answer. It is in my bible. It tells me that I ma to obey all authority: the State of Alabama is my authority. It tells me that I am to stop an inmate if he attempts to escape, to use the force necessary to accomplish this, which includes deadly force. If it weren't for God's approval the government wouldn't exist.

My job is hard. I must see the sorrows and fears of these men and have compassion as a Christian. As an officer, I must at times do things which seem to show little or no mercy.

Parents and young adults, please listen to what I have to tell you. Teach your children well, to do what is right, teach them how to tell the difference between right and wrong. Teach them that is never too late to come back to our living savior, but most of all teach them how to serve him day to day. Because if you don't, well, I have told you some of the things that I see and witness each day that I walk through a gate , for my Lord and state.

I will leave you with this bible verse; it goes,

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he shall not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:7
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Old 01-19-2003, 04:51 PM
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Lulu, I think I had read that before from Joey's mom. If it wasn't the same thing then it was really similar to this one also. Wow it just shows how the guards are sometimes human. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Cherrie from tx
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Old 01-19-2003, 04:58 PM
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yes,lol i did not realize that is was already posted. sorry
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Old 01-19-2003, 06:56 PM
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Lulu,
I hadn't read it before. I can't imagine what an inmate must go through. I pray for compassionate COs around my son-n-law. Thanks for sharing that there really are some.

Betsy
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Old 01-19-2003, 07:05 PM
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You are welcome. It touched my heart when i read it. The little faith i do have in the system, reading something like this does give me some hope that there is some Co's that care.
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Old 01-19-2003, 07:38 PM
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I wonder how many other officers feel the same? Although I know that there are probably quite a few, I have begun to belive the majority live with the "well you shouldn't have come to jail" mentality.
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Old 01-19-2003, 07:47 PM
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I guess some just have a heart and dont guess some want to amit it.
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Old 01-19-2003, 07:53 PM
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That was very interesting. I know there are a few Co's where Kraig is at, that are really good to us. I really cant complain to much about them.
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Old 01-19-2003, 08:04 PM
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In all the years, & in all the prisons, I have run across a few CO's in each place that actually care about the prisoners. In my experiance it's ussually an old school CO who has seen it all, & over the years has had the time to really look at what is going on, & has come to terms with it. They also have seniority, & experiance, & are comfortable in showing some kind of compassion for prisoners. -----------Ken
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Old 01-19-2003, 08:59 PM
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Where kenneth is at, there is a few there that is pretty cool. but there is also some there that is hatful as well. Some times that scares me to death
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Old 01-19-2003, 11:58 PM
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WOW!!!!!! LULU......I SEE BY YOUR COUNTER KENNETH ONLY HAS 11 DAYS LEFT........I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 01-20-2003, 12:24 AM
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Hey Ken... I'd have to agree. It seems like it's the younger, newer co's that have the biggest chip on their shoulders.

(thanks for posting this, I found it moving)

Jodygirl
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Old 01-20-2003, 08:42 AM
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Hi Sherron, That date as of now is not correct. They messed up on Kennths time or something. Now he wont b e out till the 20th of feb. I am waiting on Kenneth now to get back to me so we can figure out what is going on. I been calling that number that number to see what has changed, or if they moved his date more. well it says that the system is down. what a mess.

but thank you
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Old 01-20-2003, 12:47 PM
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Thanks Lulu, great letter! And Congrats on the homecoming...it will be soon!!!
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Old 01-20-2003, 12:53 PM
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thank you kb, We are pretty excited as well.
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Old 01-21-2003, 01:41 PM
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I knew there were guys like this out there. It's reassuring, isn't it? -- to say the least.
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Old 01-21-2003, 03:02 PM
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It is actually Linda. It really touched me
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Old 03-02-2003, 10:05 PM
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Hi there,

I also was a c/o. That is where I met my husband and I'm glad to see that not everyone thinks bad of c/o's. I tried to be a nice and considerate one and treated them with respect. I felt that they had already been judged and it wasn't my place to do it again. I just joined this group and wow! What a nice post to read right off the bat!! Thank you,

Michelle
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Old 03-02-2003, 10:46 PM
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Refreshing to hear another kind CO voice (present or former). We hear way too much of the opposite and it's always so nice to hear of, or from, those who were considerate. Welcome to PTO, Michelle, we're glad to have you here.

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Old 03-03-2003, 07:51 AM
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Lysbeth, This letter really had brought tears to my eyes. It is wonderful to hear some god news at times.
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Old 03-03-2003, 07:54 AM
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Shades, If i have not said so already, welcome to PTO family.
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Old 03-03-2003, 01:50 PM
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Shades,

I have been to a few different prisons, & done my share of time, & I have met some really good CO's. When I first started doing time, I thought of them all as the same, & then realized I was doing what I was criticizing them for doing. Over time I came into contact with some CO's that really broke my predjudice of them. I have seen CO"s come to the help & aid of prisoners & go out of their way to do so, & set themselves up for criticisim from their co-workers for doing so, but all that was overoad byu their sense of right & wrong, of basic human decency. It would renew my faith in humanity. That all was not lost.-----------Ken
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Old 03-05-2003, 02:11 PM
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I just read the post for the first time and can only say how very true the words/feelings are for some CO's. Not all CO' lack the ability to be human...to be a person with offenders; some even find the ability to grow themselves as a person. You know, I have always hated the word "inmate", I think it is a representation of the inpersonalization that is taught and expected of CO's. Its a way of categorizing a person to be seen less than another...it was a word I refused to use when I was in the field and I think as a person, I grew a little more from it, if you can understand what I mean.

Chris
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Old 03-27-2005, 04:09 PM
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[quote]In all the years, & in all the prisons, I have run across a few CO's in each place that actually care about the prisoners. In my experiance it's ussually an old school CO who has seen it all, & over the years has had the time to really look at what is going on, & has come to terms with it. They also have seniority, & experiance, & are comfortable in showing some kind of compassion for prisoners. -----------Ken[quote]

The relationship between the prisoner and the older officer is different, there is a mutual respect that is formed. Officers with years of service spend a lot of their lives behind the walls with them.We get to know them, we get to know their families, we see their frustrations the sorrow and the anger , we are constantly torn between compassion and that what others within the service expect.

We become more flexible and understanding and do what we can. For me the turning point was one event on a visit day many years ago a mother and two children, The sadness in the mothers eyes the children in need of new clothes and shoes I began to think of their lives the hardship they were suffering , I saw the happiness in their eyes when the husband ,the father walked into the room, but most of all when it came time to end the visit and I proceeded to escort him from the room, a little girl with tears streaming down her face, eyes full of hate and her cries of "don't take my daddy away , I hate you , I hate you"!!!

I went away from work that day and the questions began to arise within me , I asked myself "What am I doing, is this what I have become", and to this day the vision of that little girls face has been with me it something that I cannot forget and is a constant reminder of what families go through when someone goes to prison.

To leave the service was not the answer either because to me it was the easy way out , I would be betraying the trust and respect of the prisoners I have known for many years , who will be there for them, who can they talk to openly and honestly how could they trust again.
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Old 03-27-2005, 04:19 PM
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Thanks for that post. Yes, there are CO's that have compassion for inmates. We are all human whether in or out of prison. Thanks to all of the CO's who have found the love of God in their hearts to treat inmates as human beings!!!
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