For the field trip to the Ohio Correctional Reception Center we got a tour of the facility and the ability to talk to several people who hold high ranking jobs within the prison. We started off the day signing in along with a dozen or so other people who had come for visiting hours. First, my group toured the juvenile and medical assistance buildings. Although we only saw two prisoners in the juvenile area, it was odd to think that everyone in there was younger then I am. While there, the people giving out tour explained how they’re trying to better implement technology into the prison such as allowing video calls with family members and giving every prisoner an Ipad like device that they can play games on and call people from. After this, we headed over to the reception and processing building. We were shown how they they process the prisoners and assign them to their home facilities and got to see people being brought into the prison for the first time. After this we toured the cell blocks of both the cadres, those whose home facility is the Reception Center, and the regular prisoners who are being processed. The feeling between these two could not have been more different. While in the cadres’ building we saw the dogs that they foster and overall the prisoners’ stuck to what they were doing and did not pay any attention to us. However, the regular cell block was much more crowded, to the point that the open floor space was covered in bunked beds in order to have enough for everyone, and we received a lot more stares. After this we were able to ask a few last minute questions and as we were leaving saw hundreds of prisoners come into the courtyard and headed to the cafeteria building for lunch.
To me this field trip was pretty eye opening. I was surprised to hear about their project to implement more technology into the prison system and the amount of rules and regulations that the prison itself must follow that are national or federal laws. It was also nice to see the dogs being fostered because as a dog person myself, I know how much a dog can help with depression and teaches responsibility. However, if I had to pick one thing that was the most significant to me, I would say it was seeing family members signing in for visiting hours. Most of the families in there had little children and it was truly sad to think about how those kids could possibly grow up without knowing their fathers or having them in there life. Going into this, I knew already that having someone in your family in prison was extremely hard but seeing in person really showed just how bad it is. Although I am sure that almost all of the people in that prison had done something that made them deserve to be there, the visitors proved that those people are also fathers, sons, and brothers.
After this field trip I’ve learned to look at everything that is portrayed on TV about prisons with a grain of salt. In real life they are much more strictly run and helpful, with implementing technology and helping people get the their GE, then is shown in shows. This trip also showed me that when talking about prison, it’s extremely easy to forget that the people in there are also normal humans with families and jobs and homes and although them being locked up does not affect me directly, it is effecting someone. Overall, I think I gained a deeper appreciation for what the correction officers at prisons and the actual prisoners go through and that its much more serious of an issue then what TV shows and movies portray.