Friday, August 22, 2014

Correctional Credits

Correctional Credits
Bobby Derie

"...remanded to the Joliet Correctional Facility, where you will be detained until you satisfactorily complete 24 correctional credit hours, in particular no less than 6 hours of drug & alcohol addiction therapy."
- Judge Wallace Grimes, Illinois Appellate Court

"Welcome to Joliet. Here, you will be provided a regimented study environment to pursue your correctional credits. Contact with the outside world will be limited."
- Warden Edwin S. Smithers, Joliet Correctional Facility

"Hi! I'm Janine, your Correctional Education Adviser. We operate on six-month semesters here at Joliet, in accordance with the Department of Corrections National Educational Schedule. All inmates are required to take certain core courses in Civics, Physical Education, and Life Management, which accounts for six credit hours per semester. In addition to this, there are a number of elective courses which you can sign up for, from vocational classes and remedial education to art and meditation! Some courses have prerequisites in terms of minimum test scores or prior classes that you have to take. All classes are taken on a pass-or-fail basis based on the course contract you sign with the instructor. If you do not meet the minimum requirements of the contract at the end of the course, you will not be awarded any correctional credits..."
- Janine Jackson, Correctional Education Adviser for the Joliet Correctional Facility

"You ever have that dream where you wake up and you're still in high school? It's like that, man. 'cept worse. We don't got no backpacks 'cause they're afraid we'd use the straps for weapons. I seen a gang of Bloods beat a Nazi half to death with their English textbooks 'cause he did his book report on Mein Kampf, you know? They all got sent to solitary study hall for a month. Half of 'em failed the semester 'cause the warden wouldn't let 'em in the library or on the internet to finish their research papers. That's fucked up, y'know?"
- J. J. Villamourous, 15 credits in to a 30 credit stretch for drug possession

"I hear there's some schools trying to privatize it, y'know? Think they can handle a bunch of cons, just throw up some barbed wire or somethin'. Buncha fools. I hope they try. You heard about that shit that went down in Waynestown, the juvie ed place? Jailbait pussy-boys, all offering to suck dick to get out a little sooner. Judge gave that teacher 3,000 credit hours. Might as well start on his doctorate."
- William "Old Dawg" Manning, 120 lifetime correctional credits, currently 23 credits into his 145 credit stretch for grand theft

"Advanced Cooking is one of the most strongly controlled courses in the Correctional Educational System. Because of the potential for disruption of prison life, entry to the class is typically restricted to trustees. Students must be responsible for maintaining a high standard of personal cleanliness. Some elements of the course do involve the use of knives; on days when knives are used they will be issued as part of your class kit for the day, will be picked up when you arrive, and will be visually inspected when you turn them in at the end of the class. If any of the knives are missing, the entire class will be held and cavity-searched until the item is found."
- Wanda Michaels, Chief Education Officer at Joliet Correctional Facility

"My name is Mrs. Goodall. This is not my first time teaching a Correctional Educations Course. If I catch someone with cliff notes tattooed on their arms, that is an automatic fail. If one of you shows up with a pornographic tattoo with my face on it, that is an automatic fail. If you have a question, raise your hand. Disrespectful language or disruptive behavior will result in removal from the course. Now, why don't we go around the room and introduce ourselves?"
- Amy M. Goodall, former Marine drill instructor, former elemental school teacher, current Educational Officer at Joliet Correctional Facility

"At the moment, I must respectfully decline your petition to reschedule the co-ed end-of-semester ball where male and female students may mingle socially. The recent riot among the female inmates does not currently permit such festivities. I know that the Correctional Teacher's Union strike has been tough on all of you, and many of you will not reach your graduation dates because of the hold-up in classes. The best I can say is that I am working with the union representatives to achieve resolution as quickly as possible."
- Wardern Smithers, reply to petition by inmates

"We still have the same problems as any correctional facility. Violence we deal with as best we can, when it erupts; our corrections officers are armed, and we often try to segregate the more disruptive students. Sexual violence is more difficult to police, though our educational efforts seem to have reduced that somewhat from pre-correctional education statistics. Drugs are, perhaps, one of the more difficult issues; we've run into a number of issues with introducing basic chemistry into the curriculum. Ironically, I sometimes feel that most of the inmates end up learning more than we do."
- Paul James McClellan, Corrections Officer at Joliet Correctional Facility

"It changed my life. I went in with 3 felony convictions and an 8th-grade education. I left with my GED and my Associate's Degree in Business. And it doesn't end when you're outside. They got me a Pell Grant, they got me into a dorm at Fullson Community College. I work at the library, student wage, but that's just a start. I'm going to be better than I am. You never stop learning."
- Lemar Coltrane, completed 80 credits at Joliet Correctional Facility

"There's always a few that buck the system. Don't want to learn. They take the bare minimum of courses, and often fail Civics - sometimes through disruptive behavior, sometimes just won't put in the effort on the tests and papers. It is possible to stretch out a 30-hour sentence a long time...we had one old man, it took him seven years. Now that's what I hate to see. We talked to him about it. We offered him special credit projects, credit for therapy. He wouldn't have it. In the end, I don't think we did anything for him but keep him locked up for seven years of his life. Now that's something I hate to see."
- Annette Wilhelmina Bennet, Chaplain of Joliet Correctional Facility


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