Every job you attend and are hired for should give you some type of orientation. As soon as you start working, you should be trained and oriented for the job. Even if you are joining a new organization, then you should be given a class or meeting where someone gives you an overview about what you’re getting into. The same is true for prison inmates. However, my orientation didn’t start until my third week there.
On June 6, 2011, I had my Admissions and Orientation (A&O) meeting in the visitors room. The orientation was on prison policies and programs. We had to watch a sexual rape prevention tape. The camp counselor, Daniels, put it on and explained the video while making dry humored jokes. He then told us that rape has never occurred Herlong Prison Camp. However, rape among the Federal Correctional Institution inmates was more of a concern.
Daniels had been in the system for 25 years and didn’t give a fuck about anything. He was sarcastic and a hard ass, who loved to “make it hurt when you fuck up.” However if you didn’t bug him, he didn’t bug you. That was my relationship with him. I only talked to him when I HAD to talk to him. I never went out of my way to be his friend or to get “inside information.” Besides, he’d lie about it anyways or so I’ve been told.
The whole meeting annoyed me because it was really just a bunch of people coming in to tell us “don’t fuck up” or “I really don’t care about my job, but this is what I have to do for you.” We had a variety of people come in to talk to us, including disciplinary personnel, a camp nurse, a psychologist, and a GED teacher.
The disciplinary personnel was some dude that warned us about what happens if we have to see him, which would be if we were in a lot of trouble. I think he worked in the SHU or “the hole”. He also mentioned that if we did have to see him, we would be shipped to another facility. The camp nurse came in and made a brief introduction of his services and then left in a hurry. I don’t think I even saw him ever again at the camp. The psychologist was a young and very sexy. She told us about her history and what the type of things she offers at the prison. She mentioned things like counseling and medication, but she hurried out too. The GED teacher acted as if he had a gun to his head and was forced to talk to us. It was so bad that he just rambled a bunch of crazy laws to us—word for word—then took off.
I don’t think anyone made an appearance longer than thirty seconds, which was fine by me. I just wanted to get back into the library. This meeting was nonsense and I had to remind myself that I wasn’t there long enough that I should care. I just nodded when I needed to or said what I needed to say and then I hurried out of there. I knew the next day was going to be busy because that was going to be my first day of work at the Power House.
Orientation is supposed to be the most crucial part of starting a new experience. You would think prison systems would take more time to make these types of meetings more beneficial to the inmate. I think if they did, maybe prison issues would be less of a problem.