BREAKING INTO PRISON: A Guide to Volunteer Action by Marie Buckley

BREAKING INTO PRISON: A Guide to Volunteer Action

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Since 97 percent of the men and women incarcerated in federal, state and local jails will be returned to society within a few years, it is in the interests of all of us to see to it that the word ""rehabilitation"" is something more than an empty shibboleth. As Buckley states: ""The concerns of the staff go in this order: first, security; second, security; third, security."" Hence, most programs designed to make the time spent in prison not only more bearable but more productive have, per. force, originated on the outside. For those interested in devoting energy to convicts Buckley has a lot of sound, sensible advice. Though many prison officials still look with suspicion on volunteers as ""troublemakers,"" the range of recreation, educational and therapy programs is expanding. Besides AA and Gambler's Anonymous, many prisons have football or baseball teams, high school and college level classes and tutorials, vocational training, legal services and ""fellowship"" or group therapy, rap sessions. Buckley cautions ""bleeding hearts"" against the con men who will try to manipulate the volunteer into carrying contraband in or smuggling mail out; against creating ""overdependency""; and against arousing impossible hopes for speedy release, a good job, etc. Yet, she firmly believes that this is an area where caring, personal contact can make the difference between callousness and embitterment and the hope of a new life. If on occasion Buckley sounds a trifle patronizing, it's hard to deny the worth of her cause or of her generally intelligent and realistic assessment of what is and isn't possible inside the walls.

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 1974
Publisher: Beacon