Let me start by saying that I commend anyone that works in the prison system because I don't think I could do it. I thoroughly enjoy my freedom and would hate to give any of that up ~ meaning being let in and out of places.
When I first arrived and after passing through security checks, I was given a body alarm. I must admit that this made me a bit nervous. (I had a wonderful escort and bodyguard with me the entire time though. Thanks Tate:) Now let me qualify the next statements by saying that the only time I have actually been in a prison was last December for the parole hearing. So, I was surprised to see inmates walking the hallways as we entered the building. I truly did not feel like I was in a "prison", but was very apprehensive still. We went upstairs to the classroom when I gave my presentation to about 20 offenders, all in on drug and/or alcohol convictions. After I was done speaking, I took questions and comments. There were some good questions and I tried to stay off my soap box in answering them. The instructor said he could tell I made an impact on them. There was just silence in the room. One young man said that that could have been him a few years ago because of the life he was leading. I said that I hoped he has changed and would not fall back into that path. They also had questions on forgiving the offender. I told them that I think that each one of them needs to take responsibility for their actions that got them there and try to make ammends with the victims or their family, if they truly mean it. This was definatly a different experience than speaking at the docudrama, but it is another way to change lives for the better.