On Tuesday, March 27th, Wilmington College’s Corrections and Juvenile Justice class took a tour in the Lebanon Correctional Institution.
My initial reaction to the idea of the tour was fear, but after stepping into the facility and meeting some of the staff members, my fear began to diminish. I was overwhelmed with how relaxed the environment was. The staff members were not only relaxed and welcoming toward our group but relaxed to the inmates as well. In my first article, I mentioned that prisons were dark, depressing, and empty, but Lebanon was quite the opposite. The walls were covered in sports memorabilia and the prison was filled with both light and opportunities.
My initial reaction to the idea of the tour was fear, but after stepping into the facility and meeting some of the staff members, my fear began to diminish.
While our class toured the facility, we saw the different ways the inmates could enhance their lives while serving their time. Lebanon was filled with classrooms to obtain their high school diploma or GED and other programs including digital graphics and culinary arts. They were given the opportunity to work and help underprivileged kids in school and homeless people by making games and mats out of recycled grocery bags. Some inmates also worked in the different steps of making and sending out all of Ohio’s license plates. Lastly, the more privileged inmates were paid to train puppies that would eventually go to children and their families with autism.
Our tour also included learning about their day to day lives. This included when they ate, when count occurred, and when they could go to commissary to get their groceries. The students also toured the recreational yard both inside and outside the prison, saw the laundry facility, and the library that included computers and a full law library to help inmates with their cases.
After touring Lebanon’s facility, I realize how silly my fears seemed. We entered the prison only having to empty our pockets. If the metal detector went off, the next step would have been taking off our shoes. The inmates were both kind and respectful, only watching us out of curiosity. Overall, I would say that our trip to the Lebanon Correctional Institution was a success!