Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I work in a prison that is primarily a psychiatric and medical facility, but has a trustee camp which houses offenders who work around the facility and help to keep it running...The hospital part of the prison is considered a transient facility, although we have some patients who have been or will be at the unit until they leave prison or die...

A couple of times a year, and sometimes more often, we are on "lockdown."  Lockdown means that the offenders are confined to their housing, and moved only for medical emergencies...Or, in our case because we are a medical facility, if they are discharged out or admitted to care.  And, because we are a medical facility with a mission of patient care, our wardens have generally kept the lockdown to a short minimum... On a general prison unit, lockdowns can go on for long periods of time, especially if there are racial or gang problems causing a lot of unrest or even violence.  Or, just parts of a facility may be on lockdown.  And, when the great cell phone scandal occurred, we were locked down for quite some time. 

So, it is lockdown...Sometimes, this is a time to catch up and take care of long awaited undone chores. Sometimes, it is busier than a usual work period.  Always, it is boring.  Of all the things I like about my job, I like talking to patients the best.  This is typical for me:  I have always liked talking to my clients, no matter what social work role I have had.  So, although I appreciate the even slower pace of a slow paced environment, I get antsy, bored, and usually find myself having a hard time staying on task...

I have some creative tasks that I can do while we are on lockdown, and that is good...But, I am ready to get back to business as usual.

Lockdown means if we need to speak to a patient, we do it cell side.  We have devised a system of giving patients self report forms so they can confidentially provide us with input regarding their status and care, because obviously, if we re discussing things cell side, every other offender in hearing distance is listening. 

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home