Life Behind Bars

I’m going to prison.

On Friday, April 20th I will join my wife as a volunteer at Attica State Penitentiary.  My wife, who is studying for her chaplaincy, does this thing with a small cadre of Attica inmates every Friday morning, and asked me if I would like to experience the group first hand.

From her description of the men who are in the meetings, and the volunteers who come to share their feelings and views with them, I picture inmates and chaplains sitting in a circle of chairs, talking about their issues and being probed the way a group at Alcoholics Anonymous might share their issues and allow themselves to be probedMy wife says that these men attend the meetings because they want to help better themselves.  Many of them will be incarcerated for years to come.

I am skeptical of their motivation.  Maybe if I experience the group firsthand I will not feel so skeptical.  My gut tells me that many of these guys are skilled at manipulating others, and that maybe they want to see how much they can pull over the chaplains.  My wife says that the group self-regulates, and they themselves do not let anyone in the group get away with that.  I’m not so sure.  I’m not sure what to think, only that my spider-sense is tingling.

I’ll know a lot more in a week.

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