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The Difference a Dedicated Staff Member Makes

During my time in prison I have come across few staff members willing to go the extra mile. This is an unfortunate statement, but a true one. Too often doors are closed just because of it being a prisoner asking. Too often the prisoner is viewed as a deceiver or someone looking for trouble, trying to take advantage of even the smallest iota of compassion shown. This, in itself, is a very challenging perception and expectation to overcome.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that all prisoners are good people. This is because they aren’t. I know enough people in prison – some who are really bad people – to know that prisons serve a purpose and that I’m glad some of these people are in here. My frustration stems from when those in prison who are trying to do better are grouped with those trying to do less. This manifests itself in very unfortunate ways for those of us on the right side of the issue.

However, this post isn’t about the way prisoners are looked at or the difficulty of being guilty by association. This post is about a staff member here at FCI-Petersburg who has managed to look past my prison uniform – and those of my fellow prisoner educators (prisoners who educate) – and see me as a person, and perhaps even as a professional. As such, much progress has been accomplished.

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