Prison inmates and Bea Gaddy
So, I had a chat with a prison officer yesterday at one of Maryland’s Correctional Facilities to arrange to go in and have a look round and talk to some inmates about how they’re coming through the rehabilitation process.
The officer told me about something that is happening today at Maryland Correctional Enterprises (MCE) is the ‘prison industry arm’.
I had not idea what the MCE is (I actually have no idea about the U.S prison system, apart from the for-entertainment-purposes-only nonsense portrayed on TV and in the movies, which is why I want to find out about it). Anyway, the MCE makes everything from meat to license plates to furniture – that is, the prisoners do. They also plant bay grasses and trees, do graphic design and recycling, and handle laundry, picture frames, partitions, flags, uniforms and a whole load more stuff for state and local government agencies and non-profits. The MCE exists to teach inmates skills and a work ethic and is totally self-supporting.
It’s in the top ten in the nation in both number of inmates employed (2,000+ in an average month) and sales.
I got invited to go to Hagerstown today (which I can’t do, sadly) to watch and chat to inmates at the Meat Plant. For more than 20 years inmates donated their time and services to de-bone and cook hundreds of turkeys every autumn for one of the largest Thanksgiving charity dinners in eastern America: the Bea Gaddy dinner in Baltimore. Ms. Gaddy, who died a few years ago, was a formerly homeless person who became an advocate and, later, a city council person. Her family and supporters have carried on the dinner tradition and her fulltime soup kitchen and other services since her death.
The prison officer told me: ‘The inmates are proud and honored to be a part of this effort, and are glad to pay society back in such a meaningful way.’
See, that’s the kind of thing I’m interested in. Bet you learned a whole lot of stuff there, didn’t you? I did 🙂
Another blog party in HoCo! Yep, we bloggers know how to party!
What did I learn at this blog party?
1. I learned that the Inner Arbor Development is not spelled with a ‘u’ and that it is a very interesting time for Columbia. The Inner Arbor concept plan in Symphony Woods Park will see ‘nature, art, culture, music, and design come together.’ Oooh, how fabulous (with a ‘u’).
2. Columbia is a small place to live, especially as a Brit. ‘Were you teaching a class at the Swim Center on Monday?’ ‘Yes I was.’ ‘I thought it was you because of your British accent.’ 🙂
3. People do read my blog and they like that I ‘write in a British way’. Thanks awfully chaps. 😉
Whatever you call it, it looks phenomenal.