Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Castle on the Cumberland

Twice a month or so, I teach parenting classes to the pre-release inmates at Kentucky State Penitentiary (KSP). Dubbed "Castle on the Cumberland," KSP is a foreboding structure with a majestic view situated on the shores of Lake Barkley. Kentucky State Penitentiary houses around 850 men, including 32 on Kentucky's only Death Row. The Castle was constructed over 100 years ago using locally quarried limestone and primarily inmate labor.

Participants of the classes I teach are nearing a release date or a parole date. The curriculum focuses on reacclimating into society in the role of "parent". The majority of the guys I work with are drug offenders. Statistically speaking, 82% are high school drop outs, over half are minorities, and most are classified as being from a poverty background raised by a single parent. Over 60% are repeat offenders. It is my desire to aide the participants in breaking the cycle of illiteracy, poverty, and recidivism by assisting these parents with understanding of the importance of education.

My life is what I make it. I want to make it count. Life is beautiful and so is the view from KSP!


Anonymous said...
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Walker said...

Looks like the inmates get a better view than the onlookers.

Thats very admirable of you to go teach them.
As someone who spent most of his life immersed in crime I have to say that they can only break the cycle if they want to.

The biggest problem is that when they get discouraged they tend to fall back on what's illegal and easy for them but as long as they are willing to try and people like you help them they have a better chance.

Girl Rants said...

this is really cool! i feel we need to make our mark, and you are clearly paying it forward here! id imagine it takes a great deal of empathy, to do your job.
cheers to you!!!

3 Magpies said...

Walker: You are so right, we all must decide what kind of life we want to lead. It IS most difficult when we have to handle a challenge. I have seen some pretty sad decisions made, but that is life. It is full of choices. I admire that you have a good sense of yourself. That is a top notch quality.

Girl:I have been teaching there for around ten years. I treat the guys there just like I treat everyone else--no more, no less empathy. It seems to work better that way. Thanks for the comment.