Gotta check out things over at Iowahawk!
Gotta check out things over at Iowahawk!
If you haven’t visited The Virginian, take a trip on by for this tidbit: The Virginian: U.S. flag burning: OK…Koran burning: Restricted. I’ll be attempting fuller and richer posts of my own soon, but I had to get back in the swing of this blogging business the easy way… with someone else’s work 🙂 Be seein’ ya!
Middle management sent out an email recently addressing the concept of rehabilitation with respect to Correctional Officers. One of the ideas equated Oregon’s framework of accountability (within the Oregon Accountability Model) with the concept of rehabilitation. This was in reference to an article by Chris Jones recently published at CorrectionsOne. The article’s title, An officer’s responsibility to rehabilitation, opens a can of worms with well meaning intention. While there is much I’d like to address in this article, I want to keep this post to a reasonable length, so I’ll restrict most of my comments to the first few paragraphs:
I hear this statement from fellow officers all the time: “Rehabilitation doesn’t work.” Those who say it, all of whom are intelligent corrections professionals, cite numerous reasons. Some point to the astronomical recidivism rate. Some say that offenders are wholly uninterested in change. They wonder why we should waste precious time and resources attempting to change a group of individuals who have no interest at all in changing. Who are we, many ask, to question this accepted wisdom?
We are corrections professionals with minds of our own, and the ability to see past the single-minded ideas presented by those — some even within our own ranks — who think that punishment and security are the only things with which correctional officers need to concern themselves.
I’ve also heard time and again, “I’m not a guard. I’m an officer.” I couldn’t agree with more that sentiment. We are not guards, we are correctional officers. We work in security, but we are not security officers. We are not punishment officers. We are correctional officers. Because of that, the things we do — or should be doing — every shift contribute to our departmental and institutional mission of rehabilitation. After all, what is rehabilitation other than correcting attitudes and behaviors?
Even within these first few paragraphs there is much to discuss concerning diction, or the precision with which words are chosen to convey meaning. Moreover, Jones immediately calls into question what he perceives as received wisdom, i.e., “rehabilitation doesn’t work,” and justifies challenging that “wisdom” with the idea that we are “corrections professionals with minds of our own….”
If you have the time, read the whole article, but for the purposes of this discussion, I’ll be focusing on the words rehabilitation, corrections, and accountability. I realize that what I’m about to say may seem obvious, but typically, when we challenge the meaning of words by challenging the way in which they are used the common defense is – “I’m not going to argue semantics with you.” Now then, I’m going to define four words.
First, semantics is the study of meaning. Saying, “I’m not going to argue semantics with you” when the challenge is about meaning is nothing more than a cowardly retreat or copout. Semantics focuses on the denotation of a word without forgetting its possible connotations. Let’s be honest, meaning is important to effective communications.
Second, rehabilitation isn’t nearly as easy to define! Unless of course, we do without the connotations and focus on denotations, then rehabilitation means the action of restoring something to a former state or capacity. When we go into rehabilitation for alcoholism, we hope to be restored to a sober state. The very word rehabilitate assumes the existence of a prior and preferred state of being. For many inmates there really isn’t a prior and preferred state of being. Still, the idea of rehabilitation carries the seeds of our modern notions of restorative justice, i.e., restoring the offender to an amicable relationship with his community.
Third, being accountable means being subject to giving an account, being answerable for, being responsible for ones actions. Think in terms of money, accounts payable. Holding a party accountable for damages should give us a good idea of what accountability means.
Finally, the word corrections is probably a word that should not have been used for a penal institution unless some very radical changes were orchestrated. Think of this in terms of correcting a math paper, and then corrections are the act of altering or adjusting the problem to some standard or required state. In terms of our penal system, according to Webster’s, it is the act of punishing or disciplining with a view to reforming or improving one’s behavior.
While the last three words are used in the corrections field (our old penal system), they are not synonymous and we do a disservice to our chosen profession when we are not clear about the terms we use to communicate to each other and the public. On Oregon’s Department of Corrections website, there is a page devoted to the mission, vision, and core values of the department – no mention of the word rehabilitate. Look up the Oregon Accountability Model (OAM); you’ll be hard pressed to find the word rehabilitate or rehabilitation. Accountability and restoring the inmate to the community (re-entry) figure large in the OAM, but not rehab. I think this is a good thing, because it isn’t just “old time guards” that doubt the claims of rehabilitation programs; the public tends to share those doubts. Accountability, restoration, and reformation are good words to use within the framework of correctional professionals.
Feel free to tear me up here – after all, I did give short shrift to Jones’ article to keep this one manageable. My primary focus was to correct the notion that you can equate the concepts of rehabilitation and accountability, and that no, rehabilitation really isn’t simply correcting attitudes and behaviors.
My blogger buddy, Tom over at Responsibility – Freedom Demands It, also operates a small vineyard in addition to his blog, business, etc… apparently the smallest in Oregon! At Calamity Hill Vineyard and Farm, during two wine tasting events, you’ll find a warm and enjoyable experience on a beautiful little piece of real estate! More important, if you’re a pinot gris kind of guy or gal, you’ll find a very nice ’09 and ’10. It’s tasty – I bought six bottles of each 🙂 Follow the links either here or in the video and visit both Tom and Marion’s little vineyard, and the Eola-Amity Hills (AVA) website for a nice look at Tom’s vineyard – and click the “Home” link for the map and a look at a charming little region of Oregon’s wine country.
I asked Tom for permission to use some of the photos and videos my wife and I shot while visiting Calamity Hill during the open house tasting on the day after Thanksgiving. He said yes, and I indulged myself with my video editing hobby and threw together a small video – but it also has photos from different seasons and vistas of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. More important in this context – I also modified a map I lifted from the Eola-Amity Hills (AVA) website – so click the map thumbnail for a full sized image, or simply visit their website!
Although the weather wasn’t optimal for a walk around the vineyard, we took shelter in a warm and cozy “tent” with fireplace and wine! Watch the video, see how beautiful both the hills and Calamity Hill are, then see about picking up a bottle of wine or three. We know the gris is fantastic with my smoked Coho and herbed pub-cheese!
My apologies for my fascination with the railroad tracks and the three trees… That was my route to and from work for quite some time, and my camera and I were drawn like magnets to the intersection during all seasons of the year! And the video? Right here:
If you heard the president’s notion of what American Exceptionalism is or is not, then I hope you responded with the same gut level disgust that I did. Anybody, and I mean anybody, not blinded to some basic facts knows that there has never been a country like ours. Take the time to watch Bill Whittle’s seventh installment of “Firewall” and you’ll hear an eloquent, concise, and convincing argument for why your country is EXCEPTIONAL in the grand scheme of things!
Hope your Thanksgiving was filled with thanks and gratitude for the many gifts given to all of us! Here’ s the main event:
“The fundamental problem we have in this country is the rich have all the money and they’re not spending it,” outgoing Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) said.
After watching that horse hooey, perhaps we could refashion his quote… “The fundamental problem we have in this country is that government keeps spending money it not only does not have, but ultimately, has no real right to…” Rep. Grayson in the other reality.
If you do nothing else today, take a trip over to Responsibility – Freedom Demands It and check out the great post on the Austrian School of Economics! Take the time to chase down the links and even follow up on the proposed debate between a relatively unknown economist and Paul Krugman… It would definitely be worth a few bucks on contingency (to a good cause) to get Krazy Krugman to back up his Knutty blog posts! Since Tom already provides a great little video by Murphy, I’ll provide another that is chuckle worthy!
Tired of the same old accusations about your character simply because you don’t believe the popular line of mind numbingly stupid political positions? Visit a bit of Thomas Paine… you know, common sense discourse and exposition. Watch, enjoy, act!
Sometimes veterans are in the unenviable position of being called a patriot when that word is not quite in vogue. When in fact, many of the self-proclaimed “educated” call these same men and women “jingoists” or worse. I wished to those I know on Facebook – yes… I am on Facebook – and to those I knew, I wished:
Best of Veterans Day to everyone, but especially to those for whom the holiday is named! I’m proud to say it includes my immediate family (my father and daughters) my extended family (sons-in-law, fathers-in-law, and fellow parents!), and a myriad of friends that extend through all these wonderful patriots! I call them patriots not because our political views are the same, but because despite the differences, they wrote a blank check to their country with their lives.
Strength and Honor, Woodstock.
“Woodstock” is a name some brothers-in-arms call me – a group of motorcycle riding veterans – and those brothers exemplify what is best in our country. We (Spirit Warriors – a group of vets whose mission is service to veterans in need) were honored to participate in Albany, Oregon’s celebration of Veterans’ Day – from the early morning benediction through the parade at midday. I’m not sure how many motorcycles, or for that matter, how many clubs showed up… but it seemed to number beyond a hundred bikes! Rolling thunder? Louder. As my son-in-law encouraged me, “Ride LOUD pops!” It was definitely that!
In any detachment, squad, battalion or other group, there are few who could truly be called heroes. I had the pleasure of serving with a no bullshit hero – and the rest of us followed him – and by extension we became brave because we followed him into hell. I like to remember a quote by Mark Twain when I run across those who think, by virtue of their education, that they somehow know better how to characterize a veteran’s service:
In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot. ~Mark Twain
I suppose I could quote Harry Reid next, you know, his comments about how the war was already lost, not winnable, ad nauseum. Instead, I offer a celebration of Veterans’ Day by a bunch of young and old vets on motorcycles, and a crowd of Albany’s finest joining in the fun! So here’s a not so professional video of a few moments in the day.
Strength, honor, and courage!
The Skald 😉
P.S. ~that’s my life long honey(aka “Weasel”) on the back of my Harley trying to catch bits on her little video camera!
Update: Switched to YouTube for the video… it provides for HD much easier – hope you like it.