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This is a very different kind of place

Erin's picture

After three weeks of preparation, we finally got to know about the people inside the prison. Our 360 courses are titled as Women in Walls. During previous weeks, we have been talking about what are the perceptions about the offenders and place in general.

Saturday trip was an eye-opened experience and even a little bit shocking for me. To be really inside ESP was another unforgettable trip. I was constantly thinking about the relationship of people and environment and the reciprocal effects on each other.  The later part about the transgender experience in prison was really uncomfortable and made me think more about the purpose of our courses especially the vision part.

When we enter a closed institution, what are my expectations from this experience? The answer has changed over these several weeks. Knowing more about sad stories behind his cold justice system, my appearance in the coming 5 weeks will make a difference in my life and hopefully theirs.

However, we I was standing in that luxurious prison cell in ESP and imaged that I will spend whole day here. I realize that imprisonment experience itself is a torture and not to mention that the current jail system was even more crowded.

Then, the notion of female offender strikes more after thinking about what they are going through in those facilities. As described in the Offending women, due to the many complicate social factors, the effects of female imprisonment reverberate throughout the family, kin, and community networks. The multiple roles of women made the situation more complicated. I think I have these sympathetic emotions toward female offender unconditionally.  I am still not sure about what position should I put myself.

The inner environment was cruel and the administrative people play a role of policing a variety of restriction. Their presence in the prison on one hand makes sure the order and rules was followed. On the other hand, such appearance can be problematic as well. Their relationships with female offender are special and strange. The tension between the two groups is inevitable. At the same time, they are the only people female offender encounter every day.

Another surprising fact I found out about the prison system from YASP event was the amount of funding used on the current prison system. Offending women also talked about the struggle of the dependence and independence under different levels of authority. Government is the just a symbol and really administrations and executions are way more complicated.

Under such a complex system of power, women offenders are constantly figuring out their need and entitlement in this walled facility. Care