I have never attended a social justice event before so Promising Practices was a completely new experience for me. Walking into it, I was nervous because I wasn't sure what to expect. I was surprised that the event was focused mostly on health. Dr. Nicole-Alexander spoke about the concerns Rhode Island faces and the future of health. Upon arriving and talking to other classmates, I realized we were suppose to sign up for two workshops. I had signed up for Hearing Empathy... I then tagged along with Taylor.
When I went into my first workshop, Hearing Empathy... I pictured the workshop to be more teaching directed, and "learning" how to empathize. But i was wrong. It was health centered. The workshop focused on the idea of Schizophrenia and other Neurocognitive diseases and how to empathize with people who live with such diseases. I was unimpressed with the speaker, he was babbling, disorganized and unprepared. i didn't get a true sense of the main idea of the workshop until the last 20 minutes of the workshop when he used someone as a demonstration. The instructor put headphones on the volunteer and the instructor was to ask the man a series of questions. The headphones generated foul language and negative comments. From this, we were suppose to gain empathy for the volunteer because he was struggling to answer simple question because of the Schizophrenia simulation. I didn't really gain any knowledge or interest from this workshop.
I followed Taylor to her second workshop, Recovery-Oriented Systems Of Care
I really enjoyed this workshop, from it I learned a lot about the incarceration rates in the U.S. and Rhode Island alone. I gained sympathy for those who are incarcerated and mentally ill, as well as substance abusers. The speaker was very well organized, and seemed very passionate about her work and the topic. Her enthusiasm encouraged my attention. I really wish I brought a pen to this workshop.
My biggest take away the amount of time men and women are held in prison while awaiting trial.... now if i had brought a pen i would have the exact numbers. But it was something like the average time for awaiting trial is a few days... but in Rhode Island men and women spend about 25-28 days. That is unnecessary. On golocalprov.com it says that " Rhode Island's prison population has increased 250% percent since 1980, according to the DOC report" my question is WHY.
If we were doing more to support those people... would the prison population decrease? Is the prison system out of whack? or are people turning to defiance for free shelter and food? In Rhode Island, as of 2014, there were 4,097 homeless individuals (rihomeless.org).
Not only did she talk about the rates... but how race and ethnicity come into play as well as gender. 51% of the males who were incarcerated in 2015 were unemployed at the time of their incarceration; 63% of women experience the same. 41% of the females incarcerated will be resentenced within 36 months. And 50% of males will be resentenced in the same amount of time.
All of these statistics broke my heart. These people don’t want to go to jail- away from loved ones and the world. It makes me wonder what kind of resources are out there to help those who are incarcerated and to help them when they are out.
But when they try to get a job… noses are turned up by a record. WHY?! They are trying to better themselves. So a person might lie about their criminal record to at least land an interview, but doesn’t get the job because they lied. Its unfortunate. No one should be judge because of their past and it is truly sad that people can not see more than a check mark on an application.
Overall, I'm glad I attended promising practices because I gained a new perspective of incarceration.