VOICES FROM THE INSIDE - VOLUME FIVE

Hear My Voice - "If you take OCE from me, you're taking away a real chance of me making it on the street."

The Hear My Voice video series is OCE's response to the desire of the men and women in our programs to have a platform to speak to the community. These videos were made to allow them to express their thoughts by speaking from the heart. This series offers a chance for those wishing to personalize themselves, to let the public see they are people who prefer to speak for themselves. They are aware of the societal climate pushing for changes and they are not in complete agreement. Sometimes a letter is not enough; it is easier to have a conversation, but if they did write one it will be included with the video.

"One of the things that has been interesting about it is not only the opportunity to develop personally, but it's a real opportunity to see other men have an opportunity to develop skills in a workplace setting that they've never have had the opportunity to do before in their lives."

"Yah, we'd all like to make more money, but not at the expense of this call center or the program it offers everybody. I think it's just been really, really beneficial."

"I think that public perceptions of prison labor are misguided in this case because really people out in the public don't know what happens inside the Call Center. They don't know the opportunities that we have. They don't know that men can come here and change their lives in a way that isn't possible inside of regular prison work programs."

 
 
 

IN MY OWN WORDS - NORM, SRCI CALL CENTER

Norm's Letter

Give us the chance to prove that we're human beings capable of making good decisions.

"So what if we don't make market wages? You can't say we're being exploited when we're all here voluntarily. Here in the call center, we are valued and appreciated. We are called by our first names. We are treated with dignity and respect. We are given the opportunity to advance on our own merit, to practice the workplace skills and develop the personal abilities that will help us succeed when we someday walk back out into the real world. We learn patience, teamwork and structure; we are trusted to do the right thing."

 

We have received many letters and continue to see more come in. The responses have been fairly well-rounded with a range of positive, negative, and neutral tones. We want to share with you a letter we received from Norm. Norm resides at Snake River Correctional Institution and finds great value in the existence of OCE and the opportunities it has provided him. What he has to say in the following letter is real and in his own words.

 
 
 

Read more stories like this and learn about OCE training programs and projects by visiting our STORIES PAGE.

 
 

IN MY OWN WORDS - ROGER, SRCI CALL CENTER

Roger's Letter

I recently saw the parole board and was told to save money for my release.

"An OCE worker can save money as I am doing. This year I will save between $1,800.00 and $2,000.00 and still live pretty comfortable. In addition, OCE jobs eliminate any need to hustle simply to make ends meet. Cancelling OCE work programs would do an insurmountable level of harm from this monetary standpoint alone."

 

We have received many letters and continue to see more come in. The responses have been fairly well-rounded with a range of positive, negative, and neutral tones. We want to share with you a letter we received from Roger. Roger resides at Snake River Correctional Institution and has been diligent about saving money for release, finding great pride in his accomplishments after being at the lowest of lows. What he has to say in the following letter is real and in his own words.

 
 
 

Read more stories like this and learn about OCE training programs and projects by visiting our STORIES PAGE.

 
 

IN MY OWN WORDS - THOMAS, SRCI CALL CENTER

Thomas's Letter

It's not worth us losing this program.

"The structured program that OCE offers AIC's is learning new job skills, working in a productive environment and giving them the tools to succeed once they are released. This is the only program of its kind in the ODOC and is a highly sought after job. Heck some AIC's are even hired by clients they were calling for when they get released! Where else in the prison system can something like that happen you ask? Nowhere!"

 

We have received many letters and continue to see more come in. The responses have been fairly well-rounded with a range of positive, negative, and neutral tones. We want to share with you a letter we received from Thomas. Thomas resides at Snake River Correctional Institution and sees OCE as the best job assignment in the institution by far. What he has to say in the following letter is real and in his own words.

 
 
 

Read more stories like this and learn about OCE training programs and projects by visiting our STORIES PAGE.