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Fear of Visiting Prison for the First Time: A Student’s Thoughts

An opinion piece with a follow-up story coming next week!

My corrections class was given the opportunity to go to the Lebanon Correctional Facility in Lebanon, Ohio. My first reaction was fear. I see how the movies and TV shows present prisoners and prison facilities. The prisoners are hard, starting fights, starting riots, and being rowdy to anyone unfamiliar. The facilities are locked, dark, depressing, empty, filled with life but lacking the qualities of a home.

As a woman, a group of men can insight fear, but entering a prison facility filled with men and not knowing how they are going to react to a group that is mostly women, is even scarier. We not only have to think about the way they will act and how we should act, but we also must be careful with what we wear. Our outfits have to include items that are not revealing, torn, or tight in any way. The result: work pants and an oversized button-down shirt.

The scene that comes to mind when entering a prison facility is from Orange is the New Black. She enters the prison and is forced to strip and be physically searched. This includes bending over and coughing. When Piper questions it, the guard forces her. This leaves questions in my head. Will there be a metal detector? What happens if my jewelry causes the metal detector to go off? Will they let me into the prison? Will I be forced to leave? Or will the act of search be necessary?

My fear is the unknown.

My fear is the unknown. The scene that enter my head is this: I enter the prison and am forced to endure a search. I walk into the prison, past the prison cells, hearing rowdy, inappropriate comments, or something worse. A fight breaks out and there’s nothing we can do but watch until a guard comes and breaks it up. What if the fight can’t be contained? What if someone gets hurt in order to protect the people of Wilmington College?

For those that are interested in reading about what entering a prison is really like, my questions and fears will be resolved in next week’s article after a visit to the Lebanon Prison. Stay tuned!

For those that are interested in reading about what entering a prison is really like, my questions and fears will be resolved in next week’s article after a visit to the Lebanon Prison. Stay tuned!

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2 thoughts on “Fear of Visiting Prison for the First Time: A Student’s Thoughts

  1. Charles Austin

    As a former WC student and current corrections officer at Warren Correctional (right next door to LeCI, this article is pretty interesting to me and I’ll try to check out your follow up. To answer a few fears: it’s easier to leave the jewelry at home, but anything not allowed can be taken back out to your car then clear the detector. Fights are a fairly common occurrence in medium level security prison but it’s highly unlikely that you guys will end up in an area that isn’t fairly secured or with extra security. You will receive a lot of looks and probably some words but prison (95% of the time) isn’t as dramatic as Hollywood makes it. Class of ’15 here, follow instructions and you’ll be fine!

    1. Maraya Wahl Maraya Wahl

      Great to see you following the article! I’m sure that our student will learn a lot on the trip.

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