So Many Problems | FAMM

So Many Problems

There are many myths about prison that are not true. One myth is that inmates eat better than people on the outside. Another myth is that many rehabilitation programs are provided. A third myth is that prison staff do their job in a professional manner by being respectable and responsible to inmates and their families.

The myth of inmates eating better than people on the outside is not true. Much of the food is past the expired date. I have been told that some of the boxes show, “not for human consumption”. Most of the prison foods are qualities that can’t be sold or served on the outside to citizens. Breads sometimes have green or black mold spots. Green vegetables are sometimes brown or includes part of the plant stems. Canned fruit taste and smell spoiled. Several times there has been air condition leaks above the serving area that took more than two weeks to repair. The kitchen area was well over 100 degrees during this time.

The myth of the BOP having many rehabilitation programs is not true. Many programs are listed, but not offered. Also, programs offered do include materials such as books, worksheets or hands on equipment. In the past, the institution where I am located had computer terminals with programs such as; typing, computer basics, employment skills, Spanish etc. The computers are still here, but have been off for about a year. GED skills cannot even be practiced, even though students have to test on computers. Most classes are taught by inmates, because of staff shortage. It would be very beneficial if Pell Grants were available and local colleges would visit to provide instruction. It would also help for education to have monitored computers for online courses.

Another myth is that prison staff is respectable toward inmates. A past BOP Director sent a memorandum for inmates and staff to respect each other. This does not always happen. Some staff will blame inmates for something and not allow the inmate to respond even if they did not do it. Seems that some staff try to word their request to anger inmates. Many staff members give inmates the run around or pass them to someone else. I feel this is done to cause inmates to give up on getting problems solved. I have heard many inmates say, I am not going to ask because they are not going to do anything.

There are many myths in the BOP true and untrue. Staff and inmates should think about being in the other person’s shoes. Also, the staff is here to do a job and not to add more punishment to what has already been given. Most of us are not here because we want to be. We have families; miss graduations, reunions, vacations, funerals etc. Prison breaks many families apart and programs should be provided to decreased that and prepare inmates for return to society.

— RC

Return to The 1000 Stories Project