Saturday, January 21, 2012
Too much hope
The powers-that-be at the institution have decreed that our occasional retreat weekends, where insiders and outsiders get together to workshop samples of our current writing, have forthwith been cancelled.
This was a program that cost the institution almost nothing. Okay, the prison provided us with lunch on both Saturday and Sunday. But really, these meals could not have cost a lot, as they were usually grilled cheese or sloppy joes or hot dogs – the same fare given to the men for their midday meal. Further, we brought our own supplies for making coffee and tea. We even brought doughnuts for all (including a separate box of doughnuts for the guards).
Reasons for the program’s cancellation? Several petty-sounding issues have been cited, but it mainly seems yet another way to punish the inmates.
It sounds mostly as though the men were getting too much out of it. Especially too much in the way of self-respect.
Yet, if inmates don’t get the chance to develop self-respect while they’re incarcerated, how – when they’re released – can they be expected to reintegrate themselves back into society as self-respecting, law-abiding citizens?