Rehabilitation resolution: Part 1 of 2

Warden, Kristofor B.

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Kristofor Warden E.R.D.C.C. 2727 Hwy K Bonne Terre, MO 63628 APWA (c/o Hamilton College) 198 College Hill Road Clinton, NY 13323-1218 Sir or madam, - Enclosed, is a signed "APWA Permissions Questionaire" and what follows is my first essay for your consideration. Thank you for your time, service, and concern! There is a "much better way" to deal with crime and those who've been convicted and forced to live within these violence factories. I've given it "a lot" of thought. This is a "small" piece of that thought. "Rehabilitation Resolution" - Part - 1 of 2 By Kristofor Warden (MO. D.O.C.) The history we can see today, of the American prison system, with all of its effecting properties, is a creation that has been shakily evolving beyond the scope of perception for most all who have never literally experienced it; never lived an extended period within its confines. Throughout, it has seemingly become an easier negativism to affirm that what models of rehabilitation that have been used were the only avenues worth trying or the best available for successful reduction in the recidivism rate. Many of these models, created by administrations/administrators who have simply earned a basic degree, and make decisions from behind a desk, outside the inner "personality" of the real penitentiary psyche, and do not understand the complex dysfunctions of prison lifestyle, have failed tremendously, or ideas were discarded before they could be molded more precisely. That same overall failure is regrettably repeating itself, again and again, inside the Juvenile system, and the Adult models that support the State's Department of Corrections. As a man, who has personally experienced two models of rehabilitation in both Kansas and Missouri states, - serving twenty three years to date - I have had a firsthand box-seat to watch, listen, and actively evaluate why so many men leave prison profoundly worse than they were when they entered the rehabilitative system. I am "one" of those "many." Springing from intuitive experience, without any alluded or intimated blame, (instead, hopefully exhibiting insight and explanation) if the State's Department of Corrections, supported by comprehensive legislation, were willing to reintroduce rehabilitation as its "focal point", adopting an entirely revamped, revolutionary practice model that is seated beside a flexible group of administrators and "exclusively" educated staff (allowed to cohesively work, hand in hand, with the prison's security) many offenders who do have a longing, genuine desire to be free of addiction, law abiding, and successful in their lives (while in prison and after their inevitable release) would have a benefitted, aspired, and educated opportunity for success. Instead, the evolution of men entering and adapting into these current institutions has left those men to face specific and serious day to day choices which helps transform, (already Kristofor Warden (Rehabilitation Resolution) Page Two misguided young adults,) into a being -("Human")- that prison society, more often than not, instills with its dark and hungry mouth. Prison society and lifestyle, has been and continues to exist, as a school of violence, greed, manipulation, anger and hatred. "Many" Most, who spend significant amounts of time developing through their youth and early adult years within a penal systems dysfunctional structure, will assuredly be mentally impressed and coerced into a more hardened and negative (antisocial) mindset. Now, I'd like to tell you why. To start, I ask you, the reader, to shoulder these declarations with an "open" and "neutral" discernment. Can we not agree that there certainly is support in the numbers and statistics that many humans who have been convicted, incarcerated, and released reenter free society bearing a less than adequate ability to merge, contribute, and consistently thrive, even in the lower classes of that society? This is a problem. But, an "addressable" one, I know. First, the vast majority of the two million, plus, men and women living within all of the county and state detention facilities and prisons across America, have a specific set of circumstantial commonalities. One: They are typically incarcerated as a result of an alcohol or substance abuse problem. Whether using, dealing, or both. Two: They, more often than not, spend their "important", "fragile", and formative years growing up in broken (single parent) poverty stricken homes, or within the system of foster care, experiencing little, or no, intellectual, consistent or stable guidance from their family/guardians. Three: Many have been victims themselves. Abused and severely abused. Verbally. Mentally. Emotionally. Physically and sexually. Sadly, a great deal have suffered "All of the Above". Ultimately, these experiences cause destruction of key stabilities within the abused and contribute to extreme thinking defects, ineffective coping mechanisms, and distrust/rebelliousness toward authority figures, rules, and societal norms. Note: These are "not" unsupported, sophistic, or baseless "excuses" for the offender, yet a realistic, honest, and treatable explanation. After all, many of society's major contributors have also, horribly, been subjected to the same traumas, and they've found guidance and chose to surpass those mental scars, leading a successful life beyond victim or victimizer. In contrast, others have not come to terms with their sustained abuses, and they are either misguided, reluctant to expose the truth to address the psychology involved, ignorant to the emotional/psychological damage, or blinded by that damage, substances, denial, etc. Assuredly still, it is common knowledge that a great majority of the men and women who commit crimes, enter into the judicial system, Kristofor Warden (Rehabilitation Resolution) Page Three are normally mentally tormented and desperately need treatment to acknowledge, address, and temper those previous abandonments and long term abuses. Now, an example. Creating a fictional character, a fictional crime, but a plot that is so common, it can only be labelled "nonfiction". Exchange the location, race, or a couple details and it can be universally similar in application. A young man, (we'll call him Matt) born and raised, primarily, by his single mother and grandmother inside the lower class, along the paycheck to paycheck poverty line. Without a consistent father figure present and experiencing his childhood peppered with said abuses, he is fundamentally protected, on some levels, but nurtured by less than intellectual parentage or guardians. As Matt ages, he's moved from one home to the next, city to city, school to school and any stability is wane. Youthhood finds him embraced by the other young men in his low income neighborhood where he begins to live in the tendencies that surround that typical culture of youth. He's a follower and falls into peer pressure to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, smoke marijuana, sneak out at night, and engage in minor illegal activities. He's turned on by these more adult-like, defiant, and exciting activities - and when punished by his authority figures (whom often have lead by similar example) with discipline that is constrictive, negative, harshly verbal, and even physically/emotionally violent, it makes it easier for him to rebel even further. In addition, when his authority figures ignore, encourage, or misguide his behavior he's able to "think" himself into consistent behavioral habits. Mixed within this fullness of dysfunctional stimulus, Matt is a young teen, exploring his newfound, pubescent sexuality. During this experience, (of "every" teenager's journey) Matt is looking to an adult, or older peer for advice, information (wisdom) or comfort for the new, strange but exciting emotions he's feeling. Often, this is a family member, friend, neighbor, or a trusted and admired authority figure. "This" person "could" have an impacting, and positive effecting guidance upon Matt. One that could healthily expose and encourage Matt into proper, safe, and further education, sounder choices, and positive growth in socialization that Matt could practice and adhere to. Guidance, which "could" allow Matt to lead a more positive, drug and alcohol free, and excelling lifestyle as he grows into a young adult, student, and citizen. "Instead", the trusted individual betrays Matt's innocence and ignorant trust, introducing the youth to gross sexual abuse, mental and emotional manipulation, possibly even physical violence and traumatic threats. These actions (severely confusing, demoralizing, and objectifying) contribute to Kristofor Warden (Rehabilitation Resolution) Page Four Matts, already, evolving thinking defects. This degenerate abuser provides Matt with alcohol and drugs, bribes, and manipulations, giving said abuser refuge for continued perversions. These extremely impacting, life altering, and traumatic experiences, mixed with (sometimes) outrageous levels of hardcore substance abuse,- seriously effect Matt's young delicate personality and his sensitive sociological maturing thinking process. In a society, which places "such" an avowed importance, and emphasis on its children and youth (stating: "These type of abuses - "ruin"- lives) can it not be acknowledged, understood, and even empathetically sympathized, that many never had a true, honest, or equal chance at the American Dream or successfully being more than a human whom wanders, ignorantly damaged? Realistically, their caste destined many to the fate of young victim, and as an unaddressed result, a young adult victimizer or antisocial thinker. Matt is one of those children. He's one of those teenager's. His ability to become productive, to himself, let alone, society, to find his way into adult stability and responsibility has been infringed upon by the cycle of ignorant parental guidance, typical destructive, misleading peer groups, and a predatory monster who added the extra, "most impacting", trauma to a human who may have been "innocent" for life. Matt's negative behavior, drug use, and response to his dysfunctional thought process is initially handled with intended delicacy. Each juvenile program or intervention he rejects or fails (although successful for some, somehow) elevates his status (record) as seemingly incorrigible. The "Giving Up" by the adults, and judicial authority, over Matt has begun. The programs are either "Less Than", or the psychological attention is subpar. The models of mending, and conditioning his mental capacity aren't effective for many youth, or he's "so" defective in thought that the model is ignored. (Note: Punitive models of rehab. breed consistent rebelliousness and apathy; both among staff and participants within these antiquated practices. Within the MO. Division of youth services, the staff relegated all of my sixteen to twenty-five teen young, male occupied group with verbal confidences that "most" of you all will be in prison after you leave here and turn eighteen." SMH And, "most" of that group "has" been committed to the MO. Dept. of Corrections. If this is a "known" probability, a consistent failure in "that" model, why has this model continued to be applied and "funded" for so many decades? It was 1991-1992 when I spent 8 months within a MO. Division of Youth Services facility in Poplar Bluff, MO. The model provided subpar group Kristofor Warden (Rehabilitation Resolution) Page Five counseling, limited psycological treatment, "no" drug or alcohol treatment, and allowed for punitive, and very violent, group discipline for behavioral conduct that staff "directed" group members to address. This model is still being used today in MO. Juvenile Programs, as well as within the MO. Dept. of Corrections. The disregard, and mismanagement by the administrators and legislators in this state to this "obvious" issue is blatantly apathetic and even inhuman. Not to mention, misrepresentative to the tax-payers of the state of MO.. An extreme, and unjust waste of millions of dollars every month, every year, decade after decade.) For Matt, who is an eighteen year old man, (only by number) the second chance, kid gloves are removed. As a damaged young man, a drug addict, and without a guided, mature, well-thought, beneficial path (some are saved here by an impacting savior, such as - family, concerned friend or intimate or even an enlistment into the positive income of the military's discipline.) Matt is "right there" on the fringe of choice. He may notice his issues, and have an everpresent desire to overcome his addictions and to work on positive direction; however, many who think defectively have not learned to "think" beyond the here and now, Matt has not been taught -(rehabilitated)- to think this way. He commits an adult crime. Maybe robbery, possession (or sales) of the drugs he abuses, forgery, or even violent assault. Now, he'll enter the county, and state, judicial system as he begins his descent, (and it is a descent,) into that overcrowded - industrial - system of retribution, and economical support. Now, he's in the hands of the State. And, unfortunately, -"Rightfully" so. He cannot be left to his own self destructions, or others. He's now a number and a resident, dependent of the State system. Matt's thoughts are being introduced to a whole new, and defectively destructive society of livlihood. So begins his journey into confinement. Initial entry into the county jails, which house pretrial accused men and women, always introduce the person to an emotion he will become evasively familiar with; fear. Evasive, because, he will be forced to face the levels of intensity that fear entails and work, often in extreme acts, to find some measure of peace or comfort to subdue the stress that is so destructive to a young man's thought process beside that fear. Entering a county jail, little more than a child, is a feeling out process. Matt tries to find a small place to quietly fit in, a friend, or confidant, using these introductions to feel safer, and confident in his ability to adjust. However, equally Kristofor Warden (Rehabilitation Resolution) Page Six the other presumed innocents he's been placed among are often immediately interested in finding out who he is, (sizing him up) and quickly determining what Matt's character and history holds, or conceals. This is done, even in pretrial facilities, by those held there for extended periods, simply to determine if Matt is of value to them in some way. Matt's days are spent in uncertain thought of his place within, included with the fear of the level of punishment he'll be held to for his crimes. Furthermore, these county jails, left to their own (universal) policies and procedures often develop into extreme environments where the staff show zero tolerance, without patience or tact when receiving, or housing men and women. Any rebellion, disobedience, or hesitation to obey instructions is met with immediate heavy handedness (consistently/habitually), vicious physical responses, staff strictness, and regular groupings of staff takedowns. Mace and tasers are used, often without need, with impudence. Prisoner's experience the trauma of confinement at the same time as they are introduced to a level of authority and impatience that is completely unforgiving. Lockdown's within cells, for days, is administered for minor rule violations - and although there is certainly need and justification for certain responses, these - unconvicted and fearful humans deserve a staff which values a level of tolerance and does not approach every scenario with abrasivness that often borders on inhumane. In Matt's new life, the authority is not sympathetic, caring, or helpful. Instead, they are overwhelming, confusing, scary and accepted in Matt's experience as "another" abusive authority figure. Matt is now adapting, as many do, to "confinement molding". His thoughts are now continuing to grow on a negative path based on this static stress environment, his equally negative and conning peers, and improperly applied, and fundamentally "abusive" authority. Next, Matt's sentence. sorry. Typically, (esp. for first time offender's) Matt will receive a sentence of probation, depending on the severity level of his crime. "If" probation, often the sentence will also carry a "suspended sentence" of prison time. Meaning, if Matt violates the rules of his probation - he will likely be sent on to state prison. Matt is then released back into the freedom of his community with a temporary bliss, being away from the overwhelming and traumatic living in the county jail. Matt has really only learned one new thing while confined. County Authority is hard and he does not respect, or like it, at all. You would think that would Kristofor Warden (Rehabilitation Resolution) Page Seven be enough to offer a shift to Matt's behavior, but Matt is "still" irresponsible, addicted, and lost Matt. Matt still has the "same" thought process. Returned to civilization, without any reform, Matt will keep doing what he's done before, and therefore, Matt will keep getting what he's gotten before. Matt quickly violates a term of his probation. A dirty urine analysis or the inability to gain employment, inability to pay court costs, fines, or probation fee's, or unsuccessful completion of a sanctioned (less than appropriate for Matt's needs) drug and alcohol program. Note: (These, feeble attempts at mass treatment, programs tend to be too short and ineffective for most. Either the substance abuse model lacks the time necessary to treat extreme addictions, does not provide the one on one psycological therapy the addict must have, and the individuals thought problems are not able to develop persuasively, or the staff become jaded by visions of so much failure they become indifferent and even furtherly ineffective. It becomes a, "clean them up", "Attend a series of step and/or group meetings that remind each of how bad it's been" "Express a brief and basic educational description of their addictive nature, and simply release them back into the same frantic, complex dysfunction they have lived until now. Not to say, in "every" facility there is failure or an environment that does not retain caring, resourceful role models. Many rehabs, and staff, are genuine, accepting, sympathetic, and intellectual to the patient's needs. However; for a great multitude, these sanctioned, and state/county funded programs are left to the lacks in funding, and proper staffing because of funding.) Matt has already received the unforgiving, illogical, limited set of chances for redemption by treatment. He is now destined for The State Department of Corrections. His future existence, entertwined with his families, and his already damaged thought process is about to change, and it's not going to change for the better. End Part - 1 of "Rehabilitation Resolution" Gratitude!

Author: Warden, Kristofor B.

Author Location: Missouri

Date: December 19, 2019

Genre: Essay

Extent: 14 pages

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