As an inmate who is gender nonconforming and queer I have a unique viewpoint of prison. 

Prison in and of itself doesn’t make communities safer, it doesn’t bring “justice” to victims or their families, and rehabilitation of inmates is despite DOC and not because of them. There are authority figures in place who are abusive, angry, bitter, resentful, racist, phobic, and sociopathic. Usually all of those things. Many are plagued by alcohol abuse and have dehumanized us to the point that when we raise concerns we are immediately squelched or worse. 

Many people in and out of prison hold a “one size fits all” belief about prison based employment. That belief is generally pretty negative in that community. I have experienced both brutal and vicious staff as well as kind and highly effective rehabilitators. The problem is that the ones who are effective rehabilitators are ostracized within their own peer structures and they have to operate outside of the current organizational governance structure. These people are my own personal heroes because they are rehabilitating us with their own example. Not doing what everyone else is pressuring them to do. 

Although I cannot, I wish I could present them with humanitarian awards in recognition of their strength. They are rare enough it’s warranted. I would bet that each and every one of them would be terminated as a result though. 

Rehabilitating inmates is a bad business model for an industry that relies and profits off of victimization.

Just another view is all.

With Love
Jeff “Jeffebelle”