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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 05-26-2003, 02:19 PM
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Default A prison full of nice CO's... really!!!

After getting home from my 5th visit to the prison yesterday, I really have to hand it to the CO's there. Although there are a few jerks, I'd have to say that at least 75% of the ones I have had any contact with or seen much of go out of their way to be courteous and polite and even make a point of being friendly to visitors and the inmates too, a couple in particular who have really impressed me as just genuinely good people.

Case in point yesterday... Brian's former boss sat down with us for a while at the table and we chatted. This is the same fellow who took Brian's stepfather aside the last time he and Brian's mother went to visit and had a lot of great things to say about Brian. He said he wished he could make recommendations for the parole board, he said he knew only two or three inmates there that he would recommend and said Brian was at the top of his list. He said that the new governor had slowed everything down to about nothing but that as soon as he got it cranked backed up he thought a lot of good things were going to happen.

So yesterday we were chatting and for a good long time... it turns out that this CO, who's my age, has a younger brother who nowadays lives in the tiny little town where I grew up in rural West Tennessee, so we just talked and talked about that for a good long while. The three of us could have been stopped in the aisle at Wal-Mart chatting or something, it was all so "normal", really!

Then he truly made my day - he got up to go walk around some more and, you know, do his job, so we said our goodbyes and he & I said "nice to meet you" and all that. He took a few steps away and then he came back around the table and leaned down between me and Brian and said, "By the way I'm glad you came to see him (Brian) today... I was getting tired of seeing him moping around here!" We all laughed and he walked off.

It's just so nice to be treated like a normal human being in there and, not only that, but things like going out of one's way to be friendly and kind to people like me and to Brian's parents. I was reading another post earlier today about someone feeling they were treated like trash during visitation... and yeah, there are a couple of CO's at his prison too that treat visitors as such, and inmates even worse. But then there are those like this guy, and some others I've run into there. They pretty much treat us as if they understand we're no different from their own friends and family, and for that I am so grateful and appreciative. Really I guess when it comes down to it, that's all any of us ask, isn't it?

Just wanted to share the warmth & good feelings here... I should really sit down and write a letter to the warden. He's got some fine human beings on his staff, for sure.
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Old 05-26-2003, 02:48 PM
Phil in Paris Phil in Paris is offline
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Wow that's nice, thanks for sharing Lys !!

I remember Teb posted a thread about nice COs last time he visited Teddy !! So they really ain't all bad behind the walls, that's great !!

It was nice this CO made fun of Brian in such a friendly way !! At least it means he considers him as a human being and not just a DC# !! Joey told me once of a CO, sgt Dunlap at Santa Rosa C.I, who had a nickname for all prisoners in the wing he worked in. I found that cute !! He called Joey Jo-Jo !!

Lys you grew up in rural West Tennessee ??? Now I know why you have such a heavy strong accent !!!!!!

I'm happy you had such a nice visit !! And then this get 2 gether with Monica !!

xoxo
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Old 05-26-2003, 04:00 PM
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It is so nice to hear nice stories like this.
If I were you Lysbeth I would write a letter telling how nice this CO was. I am the first to complain when things are wrong, but also the first to give a pat on the back. I wouldn't put in any details, but would tell how he made you feel and what a good job he is doing.

Just my 1/2 a cent worth.
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Old 05-26-2003, 04:07 PM
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Softie, yep, I think I am going to write a letter soon for sure commending the warden on his staff, at least three of them - this guy and two other CO's, I need to get the other two's names from Brian so I can make sure the right people are complimented. And was wanting to express my gratitude for them changing the schedule to longer visits anyway, so this will be a good opportunity for pats on the back all the way around! I had intended a while back to write requesting that they consider extending visitation hours but my prayers got answered without my even having had to ask.

Phil, yep... I grew up in two small towns about halfway between Memphis and Nashville, one is one of the larger towns in West TN and the other is very small and only had one traffic light up until recent years (now they have two!). I'm a city girl now tho.
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Old 05-26-2003, 04:45 PM
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ITS WONDERFUL WHEN THE COS ARE ACTUALLY POLITE
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Old 05-26-2003, 05:12 PM
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Lys,

This is great to hear - kind of similar to my last visitation experinece - it just makes it so much nicer...

Thanks for sharing - it is always great to hear something positive!
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Old 05-26-2003, 09:00 PM
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Glad you had a great visit all the way around!
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On September 22, 2003, my better half came home after 657 days in an Alabama prison!!!

And he's now forever free - passing away from this life and into the next - on January 9, 2010.

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Old 05-27-2003, 08:14 AM
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Where is Brian at? If you don't mind me asking. Rob is at Macomb in Michigan, and I found that place to be almost like a college campus. The CO's ther are so cool. I have only had negative experiences with 2 CO's. One is a chic with absolutely NO personality. And the other is a big fat guy who just likes to throw his wait around and tell people what to do and when. Other than that, the CO's talk and play with our daughter, and treat Rob like he's a REAL person. They are always so kind to me. I'm glad to hear there are other prisons who have the same type of CO's. HUMAN"S

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Old 05-27-2003, 07:50 PM
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It was a lovely story! I still must say for myself that I am wary of a friendly CO. It has been my experience here in NY that it's done intentionally and not with any that are good.
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Old 05-27-2003, 10:58 PM
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Stacy, he's at Limestone CF near Huntsville, Alabama. You said my feelings exactly - I'm appreciative of those who treat not only me, but ESPECIALLY him, like a real person. It's a pretty laid back place there, and most of the CO's are more like the guy above than the opposite end. So I feel blessed, if he's gotta continue to be in prison, I'm glad he's there.

Mimi... well, this fellow has been Brian's boss in the past so he's pretty familiar with what a hard worker Brian is and what kind of guy he is. As for the done intentionally part... well, this'll be a little difficult to explain but it's kinda hard for a Southerner to BS another Southerner, especially when on the outside they would have likely run in the same circles. I don't have to meet this CO's parents or siblings - without ever even meeting them, I know they're like my own and Brian's own. In another life without the misfortunes that landed Brian in prison, this guy and Brian could have been buddies... and given the fact that this CO's brother lives in the same little bitty town I grew up in and has lived there a while (and the CO himself has spent a good bit of time there), it's very possible that someday we WILL all cross paths again on the outside, when Brian's out, 'cos everybody knows everyone there and likely the brother and I share a lot of the same friends and acquaintances. I think this fellow realizes the "there but for the grace of God go I" thing - meeting me this weekend just kind of reinforced all that. Without knowing any of this CO's friends personally, I can still pretty much guarantee that Brian and I are little different from anyone he grew up with or hangs out with now... the only difference is that Brian is in prison, and this guy is a CO. So I'm not wary of his friendliness or special interest in Brian at all... I think he simply feels, like most of us around Brian feel, that Brian is a decent guy who's had to do way more than his fair share of time and it's a shame. And Brian, likewise, thinks this guy's a decent guy who just happens to be a CO and has been his boss. (shrug)

I probably didn't explain that so well but in any case, I can just about guarantee that if this CO's brother continues to live in my hometown (which is pretty far away from the prison, so that's kind of one of those weird twists of fate in itself!) and if Brian and I remain together, we'll all cross paths again someday in my little hometown and those two will probably greet each other like old friends and not say a word in front of anyone but me alluding to exactly how they know each other. This CO is probably not as consciously aware of the probability of that happening as I am, but he likely knows that enough somewhere in the back of his mind - that's another reason I am certain he's not BS'ing us. Hometown roots are pretty strong here in the South, and he and Brian have ties to my little hometown (Brian's not only thru me, but he lived there briefly once too), and I'm a hometown girl. We're all of the same world, it's just that we are all in different circumstances right now. This CO is just one of those folks that recognizes that and chooses to treat others like human beings - I saw him extend many of the same kindnesses and friendliness to others in the visiting room that same day as well as us - rather than something lesser than a human being. That to me is priceless.

Besides... girls from my hometown have a bit of a reputation (that spans several counties!) for not putting up with any BS... in the short time I talked with this CO and learned how much time he'd spent back in my little hometown burg, well, put it this way, he'd know better than to try to BS me, LOL... most Southern women can spot insincerity in a Southern male a few hundred miles away but women from my hometown can spot it from a few thousand, LOL...
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Old 05-27-2003, 11:54 PM
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Lysbeth,
Thanks for sharing. I suggest when writing the Warden, do not call any names of officers for it maybe taken the wrong way. I would, commend the visitation change, the visitation staff for their professionalism, and their ability of being helpful while reflecting some form of compliment on the Warden for having such excellent representatives. Your story pleases my heart and thanks for sharing. I may have trained this officer during my tenure for I trained many.
Officers, as the described, and myself are labelled, "Officer friendly" by the staff. We are basically scorned for our honest friendliness by comments such as, "You are too damn friendly with the inmates." Inmates sometimes take kindness as a weakness and attempt getting officers involved in their sordid illegal ventures. Brian is a lucky man for meeting a person from inside that admires and supports him. More stories please... 38 Special
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Old 05-28-2003, 01:12 AM
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38 Special, thank you very much for your insight and advice!! And as for the advice about the letter, I think I'll take every bit of it!! I have been formulating this letter in my head, actually, since my early visits, being fairly impressed with most of the staff, and most especially had been planning to write it since the visitation change and now this. So thank you - you have been VERY VERY helpful and I will probably write my letter pretty much just as you outlined above. Thank you!!!

And indeed, whether or not you actually trained this officer or the others who have impressed me at the facility, you should be proud for yourself and of those you have trained because if you trained folks to conduct their careers like this man does and as you have, then I'd say that's a job well done!! I'm certainly saying that as the loved one of an inmate, but also as a voter, taxpayer, citizen, etc. - I wish people like you trained ALL corrections officers.

I have a very good friend from high school days who worked as a CO in a Tennessee prison (still does I guess, we have lost touch over the years) and he was certainly cut from the same officer cloth as yourself and this man at Limestone. No one ever gave him any trouble and there was a good reason for that - he treated them with kindness and respect and they generally treated him the same. I hope he is indeed still working in corrections because the industry, I feel, needs more people like him, the CO mentioned above, and yourself as you were in your career. I truly believe that the more employees like that a prison has, the less problems a prison will likely face.

There's still some staff at the facility that could use a few seminars in common decency - much less compassion, kindness and sensitivity - but I am very pleased to be able to say that the majority of staff there deserve a big A+ when it comes to inmate and visitor relations. And I'm especially pleased to be able to say that because it was such a pleasant surprise to me - I was not expecting that at ALL, wasn't expecting to be impressed at all whatsoever. I feel certain you must have trained some, if not many, of those officers, so I thank you (this time as the loved one of an inmate) for training all you have. It makes me rest a little easier, sleep a little better, and worry a little less knowing that there are some decent souls where my guy is.
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Old 05-28-2003, 09:19 AM
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I understand you better now. Geographics do play a part in certain things. I am not trying to show a difference, but there are just things that work on place and not another. I like the idea of writing to the superintendent.
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Old 05-28-2003, 07:35 PM
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What a wonderful and heart warming story you have shared. You are very fortunate that you are not in California because any show of friendliness toward an officer here could and would bring great harm to your guy and possibly to yourself. That is one of the first things you learn in a California prison and even before sometimes. Here you are to be respectful when respected and that is all. Love Barbara
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Old 06-05-2003, 09:55 AM
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Hey Lysbeth,
I'm sooooooo happy for you! I really am! What a JOY to go to that HELLHOLE and have a completely wonderful visit. A visit where you don't have to block out the rest of the room and the environment, but one where you can truly VISIT and relax. GOOD FOR YOU!!! And what a small world, too. Myself, I haven't always been so fortunate. When my kids father was locked up (we're no longer together) who is black, and I'm white, boy did we get some heat! I'm in NY. And going to see him in these SMALL towns upstate, where first of all, in the whole town there might be 1 or 2 black folks, but then to be "forced" to see a black man with one of their own was often too much for them to deal with! I went evey other weekend, faithfully. And with or without the kids, we were sure to always be front & center. There'd be other people darn near having sex on the floor, but for us, we're kissing too long, we're sitting too close, one time it was my pants were too tight. But none the less, I never let them stop me. I continued to wear my tight pants and sexy as I could get away with shirts. I figured they probably weren't used to seeing such a pretty woman coming there . One thing I could never stand, is going on a visit and being treated like I"M the inmate. I'm long-winded, so let me bring this to a close. But I'm so happy for you, Lysbeth, you had such a pleasurable experience. I pray that there are many, many more for the duration. :0 All my best, Lisa
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Old 06-05-2003, 05:03 PM
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Thanks for the kind words, Lisa!
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Old 06-21-2003, 10:21 PM
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There are some nice co at Camp Parks federal prison camp in Dublin CA. The visitation officer was very kind and all the visitors I had and the other girls had said their friends and families were made to feel as comfortable as possible. We had several other nice officers also. The only problem was the administration frowned on thos officers that treated inmates as humans. The senior officers did learn to shake this off where new officers struggled to be kind and yet keep the administration happy. YES there are some great correctional officers out there and lets hope for our loved ones still there that more and more kind ones are hired.
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Old 07-13-2003, 09:44 PM
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Now if only wardens could hirer nice guys like that or nicer! And fire those who aren't so nice or infact cruel to inmates and visitors! I think the prison enviroment is negetive enough! I don't think the prisons would need more negetivity from bad CO's! Since I beleive being nicer to inmates and visitors would better help the inmates during there rehabilitation process!

Steph

PS: Although I wouldn't let a fight, rape, and murder go on and still have a smile on there faces if you know what I mean! There is a different betweine being nice and being psychotic in my views! ^_^
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Old 07-13-2003, 10:31 PM
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What a wonderful story! I've only occasionally encountered polite people when visiting my son. While I'm sure there is a certain degree of stress that goes along with working in a prison, it seems counterproductive to allow staff to treat visitors like dirt. After all, visitors are often law-abiding citizens who have never been arrested--and can still vote. My vote is not likley to go towards building more prisons. I'm a lot more likely to vote for after school programs that keep kids busy--and out of the juvenile justice system, which is nothing more than a stepping stone to the "big house".
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Old 08-04-2003, 09:47 AM
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When I read the subject "It Aint All Bad Behind the Walls" I felt I should respond in order to give families and friends of those incarcerated a glimmer of hope. The 38 months I spent at SCI Muncy (Penna) was an eye opener to me. I experienced mostly nice CO's, but like anything else there are good and bad. In the time I spent there, the CO's were very professional. There is more to "behind the walls" than just the CO's. There are counselors who help steer people in the right direction. There are also a lot of groups, programs and classes that one can take to better themselves. I'm not sure about ALL prisons, but the ones here in Pennsylvania for the most part have many resources available to inmates to help them become a productive member of society upon their release. I took advantage of computer classes while I was incarcerated. Within one week of my release I found a job as an Administrator/Office Manager. Had it not been for the computer classes I took while I was "down", I would not have had the skills necessary to excel at my job.

I hope my story can give others inspiration. All too often we hear of "convicts" being released only to return to prison. I have been blessed to be able to return to society and make something of my life. If I can do it, anyone can do it.
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Old 08-08-2003, 10:14 PM
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I'm new here to PTO and was glad to hear that someone had a positive experience with someone working in the system. I am from Texas, whose prison/judicial system has a horrible reputation. I'm a Criminal Justice major/Spanish minor at the local university and I chose this career path because I have had so many friends and relatives in the system. I want to be able to help not only those that are going or have gone through the system, but their families as well. My boyfriend is currently incarcerated and will hopefully be coming home next year and he has had some positive interaction with people in working in the system from COs to counselors to even one of the wardens at his unit. To Ms Ellie I give you props for turning your life around!!! Hearing stories such as yours and other people I know makes me feel that much more confidant about the work I will be doing. Good luck to everyone!
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