I received a response this week to a kite I sent to the warden on 7/6. I wrote suggesting that they make some arrangement for the solar eclipse on the 21st of Aug. Normally, only 1/3 of our whole housing unit would have yard time at the time of the eclipse, either A/B, C/D or E/F galleries. I suggested they allow those who are interested in viewing the eclipse to be able to sign up to go out since Tecumseh is right in the middle of the eclipse path and it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for people at TSCI. They wrote back “TSCI will be putting out a notice to staff and inmates regarding this event.” That is ambiguous enough that I don’t know if they mean they are planning an event to view the eclipse or if they are putting out a notice that there will be no yard for anyone at the time of the “event” due to security issues, the fact that it will be dark for a few minutes. Hmmm. The way that goes will tell me a lot about TSCI’s administration’s mind-set. I’m also curious as to whether they were planning something before my kite or if I prompted their action. I wrote the warden last week with another suggestion. They have difficulty getting people to lock down on time before counts at 10AM and 3PM. I suggested they try positive reinforcement rather than negative; play an episode of some popular show on channel 15, maybe Game of Thrones (*grin*), and that will motivate people to go to their cells on time. We’ll see what they say about that. *smile*
This week I delivered my first assignment in the MRT (Moral Reconation Therapy) class I signed up for. I had to give a “testimonial” responding to 10 topics. The first two were: lack of honesty in your life, and betrayal of others. After delivering my testimonial I stepped out of the room and the other students and facilitator decide if I’ve adequately addressed the topics and been sincere enough. If they feel I have then they applaud as I come back in. If not I am greeted by silence. When I explained this to Roz and Gary his response was that it sounded like the cultural revolution’s re-education classes in 1950’s China. LOL That’s kind of true. I re-entered the classroom to applause. *big smile*
MRT is the only voluntary “programming” that I can take. I can’t take any of the GED prep classes because, well, I have a college degree. I also can’t take the Inside Dads classes because, of course, I don’t have any kids so the only voluntary programming I can take to show the parole board I am trying to improve myself is MRT.
The CSG’s (Council of State Governments) report on programming options in NDCS didn’t speak highly of MRT because it doesn’t use modern methodologies, it isn’t cognitive-behaviorally based, but it’s all that’s available so I’m taking it. The LR 34 committees annual report last year cited a CGS report called the JPA report which says that NDCS is replacing MRT with Thinking for a Changes which is a cognitive-behavioral program but it is not offered here. I wrote mental health asking if they were planning on offering it and if so when, but no response yet. Maybe I’ll ask the MRT facilitator if she knows anything about it.
This past week my cellie, Robert or Beto or Pelon, started the GED class. So did a younger latino guy who has flirted with me in the past named Danny. Danny asked me if I’d tutor him and help him get ready for the GED. Just like Juan in Cali. I said I’d be happy to and we scheduled time for Tuesday evening after his first class. When the time came Danny was nowhere to be found. Turns out he got kicked out of the class…on the first day…for refusing to tuck his khaki shirt in. *sigh* I’ve offered to help Robert study too. He’s really hard on himself saying he’s not smart enough. I try to tell him that is the point of studying, to get smarter, but he’s still resistant.
Another guy pulled me aside in the day room to talk to me. I’ll call him Larry (not his real name). He’s a younger white guy and had tried to get me to move in as his cellie before. I declined because I’m very happy with Robert plus Larry gets in trouble pretty regularly. He hangs out with the younger white guys in here and gets drunk and takes unprescribed meds. Not the kind of behavior I want in my cell. I don’t want that kind of heat being brought to my cell because I intend to get no write-ups for any reason. He’s also a bit awkward and is picked on by the other younger white guys but he takes it because he seems desperate to be accepted. When he pulled me aside for a private chat I wasn’t sure what he wanted. Turns out he wanted to come out to me. I guess being openly gay, comfortable with it and accepted by others, he wanted to talk to me about his being gay.
He never came out to his parents. He gave the impression his father might have beat him to death if he had. So he left his home to come to NE and made friends in Lincoln with whom he was comfortable enough to come out. Then he got in trouble with the law and has been incarcerated ever since the age of 17 here in NE. He was terrified coming to prison being young and gay so he went back in the closet and has been hiding there for the past 4 years. He told me all this while we were standing off in a corner in the day room. Not the most private of environments but the best we could manage. Now I understand his desire to be cellie. First, he’d finally have a cellie he would be comfortable with and we’d have privacy to talk his issues through. He’s not comfortable with himself which is evident from his need for social acceptance. Maybe if I can help him be more comfortable with his true nature he’ll not be picked on so much. However, I still don’t want to be his cellie. His lack of impulse control would put me at risk of getting write-ups and that very same lack of impulse control might cause him to make advances on me. I feel sorry for him; I can’t imagine having to come to grips with being gay while locked up. I would be glad to help him cope with his issues but we won’t be cellies. *shakes his head*