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  #1  
Old 06-10-2002, 03:17 PM
Menally-Ill Menally-Ill is offline
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Default Your thoughts on WOMEN working in MEN's prisons?

I'm having an interesting discussion with an inmate in Kansas, on the topic of women who work in prisons.

This includes all women, from guards to nurses in infirmaries, to secretaries in the warden's office etc.

He is firmly of the conviction that women should NOT be in men's prisons at all. This is for all sorts of reasons, ranging from:

a) strip searches by women done on men
b)arousal of lust in very lonely men
c) that the men are so lonely they will misinterpret even a simple "good morning" as a sexual come-on, or a sign of love
d) that women are naturally life-givers, and the prison system is a life-taker, that will gradually erode her good-heartedness
e) How can she justify getting a paycheque to feed her kids, from a system built upon abuse?
and other arguments, too.

I of course have my own set of counter-arguments, which I'll refrain (for now) from posting...

So. You're turn, everyone...

Menolly
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  #2  
Old 06-10-2002, 03:28 PM
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That list sounds just like many the Catholic Priest 's used to kick out nuns from the convents and closed down the cloisters back in 1700's.

Men like that you can't argue with. Not worth my time and energy to try to educate them it is 2002 now.
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Old 06-10-2002, 03:48 PM
Menally-Ill Menally-Ill is offline
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Oh My Goodness Torrey;

Here I was trying to be all sensitive to his "special" views as a male inmate. I missed the mysogynistic tone completely. *Smackin' myself in the middle of my forehead*

He talks with a "caring and want-to-protect-them" tone. So I was trying to listen so intently, I missed what wasn't being said, and what was between the lines.

Hoo wheee... Is that boy in trouble now! (hehehehe...)

Some counterarguments I've made include such things as

"Why do you see the system as robbing HER of her humanity, instead of her giving a gift to the inhumane institution?"

"Would you rather give a paychque to a brute of a guard to feed his kids, and raise his kids with the same brutish mentality? Maybe HER paycheque will feed a kid who'll one day become a civil rights activist, who'll work on prison reform."

"Don't you think, that women are much less likely to impose beatings, or to stand silently by as she witnesses beatings? Maybe the presence of women in prison is NECESSARY to humanize the place."

All the "Yes buts..." have been interesting, but I'm running out of them.

He hasn't raised the issue yet of inmates wives being jealous of other women spending more time with their man, than they can... but he seems to be working up to that one.

So ladies. What do I say then?

(Please don't read all of this as anything more that a philosophical discussion between him and I. He's a great guy, and I like to make him think outside the box, once in a while.)

Menolly
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Old 06-10-2002, 04:53 PM
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From a male prisoners point of view, I think the guys all wet. Menolly, you countered his arguments just right. Women guards like men guards run the gamut, from nice to being real b***hs. As for the office workers & medical staff, women for the most part do bring in a humanitarian aspect.

As for lust, you can take out all the women, & it will have absolutly no effect on men lusting, LOL

One thing you learn real quick is that females working in prison, its a hands-off policy, if you tread that water you will sink. I've heard about prisoners hooking up with guards or staff but it is so rare, & the punishment makes even going there not worth the risk.

As for a pay check, I talked to a female guard who got the job through a welfare to work program, which allowed her to take care of her family, get off welfare & get away from an abusive husband.

Just a few thoughts-----Ken
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Old 06-10-2002, 05:12 PM
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Default RE: The Lust thing...

I once had a (mild) situation in Kingston Pen, where a new guy saw me visiting and made a "Show me you *******" kind of comment. The guys who knew were more offended than I was!

I just wagged my finger at the guy and say "Uh Uh! Only those who behave get to think such things about women. And YOU are NOT behaving."

But the guys who knew me. They stood there and told him off en masse. They outlined the BENEFITS of being polite to women in the prison, especially since I was not staff, but an outsider...

He apologized in an awful hurry!

I must say I have at times gotten more respect from the boys inside, than I have from ordinary men out here!
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Old 06-10-2002, 08:45 PM
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Well, I do agree that women officers run the gamut from being real bitches to not-so-bitchy. But alot of women officers I found have some sort of personal agenda for wanting to work in a prison in the first place! That is alot of them, and I am generalizing here I realize, are men-haters and find this a perfect opportunity to be punitive. I have also found that the women officers can be worse than the men as far as meanness goes! This can be #1 because they are men haters; or #2 becuase they have to prove something to the men they work with and the inmates. They have to show that they are not kind and compassionate and weak; and also fend off sexual advances from both inmates and male officers. Sometimes they do this by overreacting, and being REAL bitches! Well I think I am rambling here, but to quote a woman friend of mine who is a prison nurse "It's a man's world in here". My vote is NO to women working in mens' prisons, especially as officers.
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Old 06-10-2002, 08:51 PM
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I have some thoughts on this subjuct but out of respect I just leave it alone.. No everyone is the same and I just do not care to open that can of worms..
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  #8  
Old 06-10-2002, 09:42 PM
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I THINK THERE IS SOME MERIT TO BOTH VIEWS-PERSONALLY, I BELIEVE IN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY SO I SUPPORT WOMEN WORKING IN MEN'S PRISONS-HOWEVER, I DO THINK THERE ARE CERTAIN TASKS THEY SHOULD NOT PERFORM SUCH AS STRIP/BODY CAVITY SEARCHES AND/OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT INVOLVES CLOSE PHYSICAL CONTACT- IT IS A MATTER OF BOTH RESPECT AND UNNECESSARY PHYSICAL STIMULATION. I ALSO THINK THAT MEN SHOULD HAVE THE SAME LIMITATIONS IN FEMALE PRIONS. THESE ARE JUST MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS ON THE SUBJECT.
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  #9  
Old 06-10-2002, 10:07 PM
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Oooh... this is an interesting discussion....
KConnor... I have to agree very strongly with one thing you said... that the punishment for an inmate who hooks up with a woman who works within the walls are severe... HOW TRUE!! I have some personal experience with THAT...
I agree with a lot of other things that have been said by others too... But Menolly, it sounds like you are just looking to consider different perspectives, so here is one that hasn't been thrown out with... If you remove all women from male prisons... How is that going to prepare them for coping with the world when they are released?? When I worked inside, I definitely got a lot of respect from MOST of the inmates and DEFINITELY saw guys correct and teach other guys who did show me disprespect.... that "opportunity for learning" wouldnt' be present if there were NO women in male prisons...
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  #10  
Old 06-11-2002, 08:08 AM
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I think that it would be alright for a woman to work in a male prison facility as long as she goes by their guidlines. I think they are better at things like counseling and infirmaries. The women that usually work the floor look like they are in shape. I know I wouldn't work in one though...
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Old 06-11-2002, 11:28 AM
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I can't agree to disqualifying either gender from working in either type of facility. Both genders need healthy exposure to each other. It depends on the individual personality, of course. I would be tempted to take full advantage. On the other hand, I know a perfect female candidate for such a position who was turned down a volunteer position due to a prior. (?) She would have loved to have set a fine example of possible reform and sucessful reentry.
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Old 06-11-2002, 01:33 PM
Menally-Ill Menally-Ill is offline
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Isadora;

Perhaps I should mention that this topic came up with some of my "penpals" because I am a palliative support worker, (with the terminally ill, Aids patients etc.) and I MENTIONED that Kingston Pen had opened an 8 bed palliative unit, and MAYBE I should apply for a job there.

Well, the guys I write to went nuts. A whole bunch said I'd be great comfort to the sick inmates. Other's said I'd burn out because I was too humane.

But this one in Kansas who's very opposed to women working in prisons has challenged me to convince him! Ooh, he should know better than to dare me...

I wasn't talking TO THEM about becoming a guard. I meant working in the infirmary, with the dying inmates, who most need kindness and compassion.

Menolly
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Old 06-11-2002, 01:35 PM
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Shortie:

Perhaps in view of my response to Isadora, you should e-mail me privately. I would LOVE to hear what you'd have to say on the matter.

Menolly
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Old 06-11-2002, 01:48 PM
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Sherrie;

Hmm; "close physical contact". I guess that rules out working in the infirmary?

Maybe I am incredibly naive, but I can combine physical contact with respect. That's my job.

But, perhaps inmates, so long out of the presence of women, cannot do so. Maybe that's what my Kansas buddy is trying to tell me.

Thanks for your comments.

Menolly
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Old 06-11-2002, 01:59 PM
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JDsW:

Thank You. This is another point I've made to him.

Over the years of writing, I've gently proven that not all women are the same as "Your Mom" or "Your Ex-Wives". This was great news to some of the guys, especially those whose only experiences with women have been horrendous.

Of course, writing letters is very different from being a (female) member of the prison staff. Still, the opportunity to provide a different kind of example of "femaleness" (read that as: NOT a B****) might be there.

I've found some guys are so relieved at a bit of kindness, they melt; others gets scared and mistrustful (What are you up to?); still others are so used to abuse that started with their Mom, they are tremendously confused by kindness, and genuinely don't know how to react. so they respond with tried and true reactions like bravado, or studly posturing etc.

With letter writing, there is distance and time to "straighten them out" that there wouldn't be if one was actually working (in any capacity) inside the prison.

Menolly
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Old 06-11-2002, 02:05 PM
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Leonda;

You also prove my point. Women can bring humaneness into a prison, especially in the "offices" where it is most needed. Cousellors. Nurses. Chaplains...

I know a Wiccan priestess who has a coven in Kingston Pen. She has done absolute wonders with the guys. They've built peace gardens on prison grounds, learned how to file "Freedom of Religion" grievances, understood that their actions can have far-reaching effects beyond the immediate present...

I think there are places where women can be very effective, but everyone thinks they shouldn't be there.

Menolly
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Old 06-11-2002, 02:14 PM
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"Healthy exposure" is the key. (And no, I am NOT making a pun!)

If a woman goes into a prison job with a healthy self-esteem, and for the RIGHT reasons, I believe she could do some good in someone's day.

But, if she is a man-hater, or a feminist with an agenda to prove, or a weeping willow who'll collapse at the first profanity, or come-on...

Maybe there should be some kind of psychological assessments done first. But if the assessors were the prison psychologists, goodness knows what qualities THEY'd be looking for.

Menolly
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Old 06-11-2002, 02:18 PM
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Menolly, dealing with that type medical situations in a prison setting, is a dual role, when a person is, as concerned with people as you are. Mental health is a issuse too and in time could spell "burn-out" in dealing with both?

A person can "care" too much, and come to a point where there no dam good to themselves or others. A person needs to know there limit(s) before reaching out. Self is job #1, all "others" has to fall in line.
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Old 06-11-2002, 02:26 PM
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THANK YOU BRAY.... I THINK YOU HAVE JUST OPENED MY EYES.. I AM TO THAT VERY POINT RIGHT NOW OF HURTING MYSELF MORE THAN I AM HELPING. EVEN MY MIND IS LOOSING ITS ABILITY TO THINK.... THANKS FOR SAYING THAT.


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Old 06-11-2002, 02:38 PM
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Bray;

Exactly!

My present job as a palliative care worker is the type of job where many people burn out quickly. They either stop caring. Or they fall apart because they care too much.

Socrates said "know thyself".

I spit death in the eye on a daily basis, with my ternminally ill patients. I don't cringe too easily.

I've also spent years interacting (as a penpal, volunteer visitor etc.) with inmates. I had just been casually contemplating the subject of women in prison, in general, and ME working in a prison palliative unit in particular.

I never thought casually mentioning the subject to my penpals would arouse such ESSAYS of debate! It's actually been fun, in a way, to find out their attitudes to women in general, and me in particular.

Some of the guys (including my Kansas buddy) when speaking of women in general are SO OPPOSED based on women they've known (including female guards) while at the same time, expressing great WORRY for me in particular, as if I'm some delicate gentle flower who'd wither. (D'ya think they care a little?...)

Menolly
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Old 06-11-2002, 02:47 PM
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Budwoman;

I was unsure how to answer you, and went to read your recent postings to see if I could discern why you feel you're "Hurting yourself, more than you are helping". But with 644 postings, Yikes!

So how about I just put on the cyber-kettle, and we have a nice cup of tea or coffee. Do you need a cat to cuddle? a Kleenex? How about some peaceful time at the side of a lake?

It sounds like rather than being able to think, you need to be able to REST! Don't confuse those two. I often do!

(But what the heck do I know?)

Love,
Menolly
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Old 06-11-2002, 06:59 PM
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you asked me to comment on this and I have to again say that i am going to refrain. There is a woman in the prison where my husband is and she is calling herself liking my husband. I really do not think right now is an appropirate time to respond to this topic.. I am upset right now.. Hope you understand
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Old 06-11-2002, 07:02 PM
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i do think the approach that you are taking is a great one.. we need to have people like you in there. I am medically trained myself and have dealt with terminally ill patients and also sudden death patients they need compassion and to see the world as a good place before they go.. it is vital.
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Old 06-11-2002, 07:23 PM
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Oh Shortie: I'm so sorry if my discussion is scraping at your pain.

I can't imagine your helplessness faced with such a scenario. It is a possibility that my Kansas friend has alluded to, but hasn't outrightly listed as a reason women shouldn't be there.

He IS married, and I suspect what he's leading up to is that his wife thinks he's messin' with a female guard, when he isn't.

I read your other post about "his letter".

Sometimes there are no words that can make anyone feel better.

Are ((((((HUGZ))))) ok?

Love,
Menolly
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Old 06-11-2002, 09:28 PM
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THANKS FOR RESPECTING WHY I CHOSE TO REFRAIN FROM THIS ONE RIGHT NOW.. LOVE YA TOO MENOLLY!! THANKS FOR THE HUGS SURE DID NEED THEM..
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