I have now been at TSCI for 3 months. I’m pretty well settled in. Not only have I figured out a good routine for my time but I’ve learned how things work here…or is some cases how they don’t. *chuckle* It wasn’t until about a week ago that I finally met my case manager. LaDuk had been on our unit working the floor and I knew he was a case manager but I didn’t know he was MY case manager since he had never met with me until last week. He needed to meet with a lot of us to get us to sign waivers so we wouldn’t have to show up at our programming review hearings with the unit manager. It wasn’t until I asked that he explained that that was what I was signing…and then apologized for not having met with me when I first arrived. I guess there really isn’t any need to meet with new arrivals who have just been forced to PC up, they’re just going to complain and ask to be moved out of TSCI anyway, right? So why bother doing the orientation that they’re supposed to do if it’s just going to mean having to answer questions. *sigh*
Since I was finally meeting with him I asked when my next classification was going to be since I should have had an annual review in April. His answer was to send him a kite asking my question. So why meet face to face? Oh, right, to waive my appearance at a hearing with the unit manager. *deeper sigh* I sent in the kite and a week later got back that I’ll be reclassified in Sept. I guess that’s better than having to wait till next April. Ha! After doing some research on the new Strong-R risk assessment tool that they use for classification I sent in another kite asking for some clarification on what “severity” level my offense would be categorized as on the Strong-R because that will influence what custody level I can be sent to. I also asked for copy of the classification appeals form. You get 15 days after you are notified of your results to file an appeal but of course it would take longer than that to even get the form from your case manager so I’m asking for one now to be prepared. *grin* Let’s see how long it takes for him to send me one.
I’ve been going to the library twice a week for over the past month. I was going to do research on 191 good time and NDCS’s requirement to provide programming through the law library’s WestLaw account. After I read everything of use on those topics I then moved on to reading SCOTUS briefs on pending cases. One of particular interest is Packingham v North Carolina. NC made it a felony for any registered sex offender to access “social media” site. I was part of the 33 petitioners who got a Nebraska law like that overturned in federal court so I’m very interested in what the SCOTUS decides on the NC law. If they rule it constitutional you can bet that NE will reimplement their law. Grrrr! Their decision is due this summer. Until then I’m reading all the briefs in the case. Man it is interesting to see how little constitutional protection some people think sex offenders deserve.
A few of the briefs claim that sex offenders are basically unredeemable. They claim we can’t be helped by treatment and that we reoffend at a higher rate than any other criminals. Both claims are false but they are held as “common knowledge” so virtually unquestioned. Even an article in The Economist that argued for prison reform made an exception for sex offenders because they are “hard to reform.” I thought about writing a letter to the editor of The Economist expressing my dismay at their reiterating and thereby reinforcing the common misconception that sex offenders are any more resistant to rehabilitation than any other offenders. Unfortunately, in here I don’t have access to the research to show their unsubstantiated claim is contradicted by facts and as a prisoner and sex offender I would be written off as a bias source. Then it occurred to me that maybe Dr. Newring would be interested in trying to get a letter to the editor printed in The Economist and he is an authoritative source. I wrote him telling him about the article, my disappointment in The Economist and mentioned that maybe he’d be interested in the publicity of being cited in The Economist. He wrote back and told me he was writing an article for Slate on how the main “study” cited in reference to sex offenders not responding to treatment was actually not based on any data, just one therapists personal opinion cited over and over again and that through the echo chamber or public opinion eventually became a “statistic” of 80% recidivism.
And that statistic was cited in a 2002 SCOTUS case which was then used in the Packingham case this year. What synchronicity that he and I were both simultaneously researching the same current SCOTUS case. I still haven’t heard if he is interested in writing a letter to the editor of The Economist. *smile*
Last Friday I went to the gym with about half of the guys in my gallery and when we got back I found out that there were some officials that came through our gallery while we were gone. At first I thought it was just case managers but then someone said the warden was with them so I asked who else was in the group. It turns out not only was the warden here in my gallery but Director of Corrections Frakes was too. That was probably the only time that the Director himself will ever come to where I live…and I was at the gym. *deep deep sigh* There were others with the warden and Director too, including a woman which means it very well could have been the members of the legislature’s LR 127 committee and the woman would have been senator Ebke, chairwoman of the Judiciary committee. And I was at the gym! Grrrr! If that was the LR 127 committee’s visit to TSCI and I missed the opportunity to speak to them I will be so frustrated. I can only hope that my next letter to the senators on NDCS’s inadequate access and availability of programming gets their attention on its own without having met me face to face. *crosses his fingers* Mom and dad will be back next week so I will send out the letter on programming then and ask dad to deliver it to the Judiciary and LR 127 committees and then we’ll wait and see if any of them read it and respond. Maybe they’ll be back at TSCI sometime since we are the only facility with inmates dying.
I’m also disappointed in the non-clinical programs offered here at TSCI. They just started a Toastmasters and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People clubs, but they’re only for GP. Also, the entrepreneurial program called Defy Ventures is starting here this month. I read about the pilot program last fall at NSP and I’ve wanted to participate ever since. I even have my business plan ready. But of course, it is only being offered to GP “at this time.” So much for programming in PC. *sigh*