Saturday, October 5, 2013

Re-Entry Part I

Like many county jails, Butler County Prison has recently instituted a "Re-Entry Program" supposedly to curb recidivism. It is called a voluntary program...maybe my definition of voluntary is off, but it is a program that inmates are forced into and kept in by threat of administrative discipline(the hole) if one does not participate after being selected to partake. 

To be fair, the program was in it's infant stage when I was a "participant". Things have changed and I do think that it is a good idea, on paper at least. Anything that can stop the revolving door is something that I can get behind. I do have to question the fact that prison admins actually want to stop recidivism. That's like corporate McDonalds starting a campaign to eliminate french fries, soda and Big Macs. 

Of course I do not agree that a guard/counselor runs the program. To digress for a second: Guards have their own culture, they see a very real line between "them" and "us". If a guard is too compassionate or understanding toward prisoners, they are perceived as weak by their peers. Point being that any guard in the position of Re-Entry Coordinator is a guard first and foremost. This is not an indictment on the person of the current Coordinator, it would be the same no matter who was in that position. My opinion is that if any progress is to be made, the prisoner must be able to trust the the present this is next to impossible.

Moving on. 

The Re-Entry Program in BCP is a 4 stage program, participating in various classes and  meeting certain criteria before moving up in levels. The following was the weekly itinerary when I was in the program:

Sun:      10:00 am to 11:00 am external AA meeting (levels 3 & 4, optional)  

Mon:     8:30 am-9:30 am Physical Exercise 
              12:00 pm-1:00 pm Criminal Thinking(1st Group) 
              3:00 pm-4:00 pm SOAR(staring over after a record)
              6:00 pm-8:00 pm Drug & Alcohol(work release/comm. service guys) 

Tues:      9:00 am -11:00 am Drug & Alcohol(re-entry)
              12:30 pm-1:30 pm Physical Exercise
              2:00 pm Sex, Drugs and Risky Behavior(monthly)
              3:00 pm-4:00 pm Financial Literacy(levels 1-4)
              6:30 pm-7:30 pm AA 

Wed:     8:30 am-9:30 am Physical Exercise
             12:00 pm-1:00 pm Thinking for a Change(levels  1-4)
             1:00 pm-2:00 pm Nutrition(levels 1-4)
             2:00 pm-3:00 pm VOICE(levels 1-4)
             3:00 pm-4:00 pm Life Skills(levels 1-4)
             6:00 pm-8:00 pm External Mentoring(levels 3 & 4)

Thurs:    9:00 am-10:00 am Drug & Alcohol(re-entry)
             12:30 pm-1:30 pm Physical Exercise 
             2:00 pm-3:00 pm Criminal Thinking(2nd Group)
             5:30 pm-6:30 pm Internal Mentoring(levels 1-4)
             6:30 pm-7:30 pm AA(levels 1-4)

Fri:        8:30 am-9:30 am Physical Exercise 
             12:00 pm-1:00 pm Thinking for a Change(level 1-4)

Sat:       7:00 pm-8:00 pm God's Country @ 1st United Methodist Church

**Friday, Saturday and Sunday were also dedicated to kitchen work for those on level 2. These days would begin by waking up at 5:30 am and working in the kitchen for 12 hours averagely. Kitchen work in Re-Entry is not compensated, and you log in almost an entire work week in 3 days.  

Next up, program Overview.