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Unveiling Prison Employees Too!

couldntthinkofanoriginalname's picture

When I heard that the Warden was not coming to our class, I was extremely disappointed. Much like the invisibility of prisoners, I feel like the people who work within the system are also invisible. Although I wasn't expecting hirer to share a personal anecdote from her life beyond the prison walls, I did want to see a face and notice the impact it would have on me. When discussing "female offenders" in class, I sometimes forget that the people who must "deal" with them are prisoners as well--they are confined to watching the inmates, confined to possible, and justifiable, fear for their lives every day at work, and, like Tamika from Visions, confined to being an emotionless being.  Although Haney gives voice and insight into the lives of the Vision workers, only on the job of course, I also see that even with visibility, Haney was able to capture reservation from the workers. For instance, Tamika did not believe in being emotional while Margaret distanced herself by taking advantage of the power she had over her employees. So it seems that the issue is two-fold: prison employees are invisible from society but at the same time choose invisibility. I wonder if I would have sensed this with the warden and what kind of questions would have come up as a result.  Like we do with the inmates we read about, I would like to have a conversation about the ethnic/racial/class make-up of the employees. I want to know the benefits given to them as a result of their job, their salary, their personal backgrounds--anything that will allow me to believe that they are treated like humans by the same system that dehumanizes their inmates.