Cancelling Christmas in Prison

I have stated previously that I try and make a point of having empathy and understanding for everyone, even the people who are actively making my life miserable and difficult. I don’t always succeed in this. Hell, I usually don’t succeed in this, but I do make the effort.

So when 40 c/o’s on the afternoon shift (2pm-10pm) decided to all use a sick day on December 24th causing WSR to be locked down due to staff shortage — meaning, no religious callouts (like say, Catholic mass), no educational or self help programs (AA and NA usually meet on holidays), and no recreation (yard and gym) — I didn’t like it, but I got it. It was the first warm sunny day we’d had in over a month and it’s Christmas Eve. I totally understood them calling in to work with spontaneous eye trouble… As in, they just couldn’t “see” coming in to work that day.

However, the next day when they pulled the same thing again? Sure it’s Christmas, but they had already kept the people here in prison from being able to call their families the day before, kept us from being able to take what comfort we could in each other’s company, and kept the Christians from being able to celebrate their religious holiday. Then to do it again on the 25th? They literally cancelled Christmas!

I’m upset about this and I don’t even celebrate it. Not my holiday, not my religion, and I have a ton of PTSD that bubbles up every year because of it. However, as much of a bah humbug Grinch as I am, I’m not about to ruin someone else’s happy holiday by placing my feelings before theirs, which is exactly what these c/o’s did. Being in prison is hard enough as is.

The reason they are able to pull stunts like this and not have any consequences is because they have a union. The c/o’s are apart of the Teamster’s union which makes it next to impossible to hold them accountable. It is also part of the reason why it is so hard to get prison or sentencing reforms passed in Washington state.

Like I said, I try really hard to have understanding and empathy, but there’s a point where even I say “this is ridiculous! What the #%!@ were you thinking?”

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