I am currently housed at USP Thomson, which has been converted to a low. This is my first low, and it has been a big change, both good and not so good.
The staff here have never had an inmate ran anything, as this was an AUSP, administrative max. The attitudes of the staff toward inmates have been an adjustive period, but I have managed to obtain approval to Facilitate the parenting class, and also to speak at orientation (A & O), sharing my story with the new guys and offering them hope and inspiration in the stories of others, like Michael Santos and Adam Clausen.
This facility was never designed for its inmates to be out of cells and moving around, and with the rise of the population becomes inadequate space for the things needed. Reentry currently utilizes the visitation room for our classes, yet visiting is going to be ran 5 days a week, Wednesday through Sunday, which only leaves us with Monday and Tuesday to have a classroom. I was told By my boss in Reentry that she would have to “focus on stuff important, required of her by administration,” which would be job fair and money smart, and that parenting would be stopped for a bit.
Obviously, as an incarcerated father, I understand the need for parenting, and I am deeply passionate about it and invested. This setback, like the sharing of Michael Santos about the word processor, has become a challenge, but also an opportunity. I have been reaching out to other staff in recreation and education, even unit teams in our units to see if I can acquire some space so the men can continue to grow as fathers and as men. A man cannot become a good dad, unless he first becomes a good man. It is frustrating, but the words of my predecessors always come to mind, so I stay focused and stay positive.
Adversity, challenges, setbacks….these are inevitable, but not final. A bend in the road is the end of the road, ONLY if you fail to turn.