After reading several posts this morning about Difficult Child's going to prison, or hoping they would, I felt that it was necessary to explain how things work in prison. Some of this is going to seem pretty harsh and I apologize in advance, but am a firm believer in people knowing and understanding the truth of a matter. Please understand that I'm not talking badly about our prison system, simply offering someone the chance to understand the reality of it AS I KNOW IT! This is very important as not all states are run the same, not all prisons within the same state are the same. Over my almost 24 years working in Corrections I've worked at a Maximum Security and Minimum Security prison. They are two COMPLETELY different creatures even though I can currently look out my office window and see the Maximum Security prison. Each provides some advantages and disadvantages. I put this in the Emeritus forum because I felt that it was most appropriate but if a moderator feels it needs to go to the Watercooler or even removed, please feel free to do so. Prisons are not a magical place where your child receives anything and everything that they need. Prisons are Government run facilities where Safety and Security overrides EVERYTHING else. IF a facility has a program than an offender needs, they MIGHT be able to get into it and, depending on their level of commitment to change, may or may not get anything out of it. We used to offer in seat college courses but due to negative public opinion, it was stopped and now offenders can only get insanely expensive correspondence courses. Anger management is pretty much a guaranteed stipulation if you have a violent crime. Good luck getting it inside the institution and if you don't, hope you have between $600 to $800 to pay for it on the streets. And sometimes, even though you took it in the institution, the PO will still require you to take it on the streets. Most prisons have Mental Health professionals available. It is still up to the individual to take advantage of those professionals and not just either ignore their existence or show up for their weekly appointment and tune them out. Prisons provide a bed and three meals a day. They provide opportunities for recreational activities such as softball and basketball, weight lifting, and sometimes exercise classes. They are also a drug dealers paradise. Marijuana, which is relatively inexpensive on the streets, can be VERY expensive in prison due to the difficulty of getting large amounts inside and the need for large amounts to get high. Black tar Heroin is very sought after because a small amount is fairly easy to hide but can make a lot of doses. Family members are no longer allowed to send offenders stamps because people kept lacing the adhesive with Acid. We have offenders smoking synthetic Marijuana brought in by Work Release Offenders that is so unpredictable that we have had offenders so out of their minds that they were having sex with the shower floor or their bunkies leg. We had an offender recently who's heart stopped beating several times on the way to the hospital and another offender who took one hit from his pipe and hit the floor. They pay for these drugs by robbing and stealing from each other, by extorting weaker offenders out of money that their families have sent for them, and with "favors". The most prevalent "favor" is sexual. Prisons are full of predators and contrary to popular belief, there is NO honor amongst thieves. Oh, they have their code but that's more about dealing with us than anything else. That being said, prisons are not all bad either. We do offer programs for offenders to better themselves such as parenting classes, mental health classes, AA, NA, Toastmasters, Impact of Crime on Victims Class, Impact of Criminal Thinking, Employablility Skills, and Pathways to Change just to name most of them where I work. We have resources for them such as the Resource Room where they can research home plans, colleges, study to prepare for their drivers exam or CDL (no, they cant take it until they get out but one camp will soon be offering CDL testing as a Vocational course), even research starting their own company. We have a leisure and legal library. Granted, not a terribly impressive library but a library none the less. We have a Chapel where all faiths can worship. We offer educational opportunities in the form of GED and Vocational Courses. At this camp alone, we offer Automotive Repair, Culinary Arts, and Web Design and these courses are backed by the Department of Labor. We try our best to prepare offenders to become PRODUCTIVE members of society but in the end, its still up to them. You can lead a horse to water and all that. For those with experience in Corrections or Law Enforcement, please feel free to chime in. What I've put here isn't meant to be comprehensive even for the prison I currently work at, much less for the entire state or country. For those with questions, please ask. As I constantly remind offenders here, knowledge is power. Again, this wasn't intended to alarm those with children either in our about to be in prison. Its meant to be a source of information.