VOICES FROM THE INSIDE - VOLUME TWO

Hear My Voice - "The overwhelming majority of us, we love what we do, we’re happy to participate."

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.

"If you can do anything, find ways to grow the program. Don’t take this from us. It means too much and it matters too much, and it genuinely does make the world a better place based on the environment and what they give us here."

"The first couple years, I was angry, I didn’t care. It didn’t matter to me what I was gonna be. But after a while, and I don’t know if it’s just the time to think about it, or as you age you start to mature. It begins to dawn on you that you need something else, and that something else in a prison system is incredibly deficient. It just doesn’t really exist in any form or fashion. The one exception to that, the one thing that exists is the OCE programs, these work skills programs, that not only is it, you know, something to give you to do every day, that keeps you out of trouble, allows you to make a few bucks – because this is the best paying form of employment in the institution, and the only truly voluntary form of employment in the institution. You know, any other job you take outside of this call center on the other side of those doors, you can’t quit, you face disciplinary action. The environment here allows us to come up here, give it a try. If it’s for us, great, stay as long as you want. But people can leave any time they want. I mean, that’s hardly the definition of being exploited."

 
 
 

IN MY OWN WORDS - JASON, SRCI CALL CENTER

Jason's Letter

This isn’t a sweatshop and we aren’t slaves here.

"These businesses profit exactly because they don’t exploit or take advantage of us. They value us, seek our input, push us to improve and grow. They thrive because we thrive. They let us be a part of the world outside of prison. We get to contribute and benefit thousands of companies. We help these clients grow, we help their salespeople make money so that they can care for their families. Our clients use us because time and again we prove ourselves to be hands-down, the best sales support service they can find."

 

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 Jason. Jason resides at Snake River Correctional Institution and is an eloquent speaker and outstanding leader. 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.