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angels, kevin needs our help. he is about to take his stand against the entrenched mindset of DCS. the credibility of SET and of our cyber school turns upon the outcome. please read his document hot off his keyboard still with need of cleanup punctuation. as backup for him we have the video of him speaking with the men at south camp. we have the journals of your visit. we have your testimony which needs to be given before the cameras of CCTV. our mission is to help kevin lead jamaica to gently but firmly regroup.
here is kevin’s message to me
Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2006 18:58:45 -0700 (PDT)
From: Kevin Wallen
Reply-To: kdw at kevinwallen.com
Subject: more of my rambelings
To: Charles Nesson
hay charley i sat here thinking about the day i had and decided to write something and i wish to share it with you
another in the series of between you and I
I’ll be talking to you soon
Harvard Law School
Berkman Center for Internet & Society
Kevin D. Wallen
Fellow and Director of S=SET CyberSchool
Tel: 876 960 1715
cel: 876 371 4510
kdw at kevinwallen.com
Be the change you wish to see in the world
Today is one of those days I call a learning experience
I woke up this morning with the intention to attend a meeting at the department of corrections head office. The meeting was scheduled for 9am. At 8:48am I received a phone call from Miss Sharp who wanted to remind about the meeting. I told her I remembered and that I was on my way. By the time I arrived at the head office it was 8:55am. I was ushered to the conference room where the meeting was to be held. 20mins later I was told that they would be with me shortly, then 10mins I was told again that they would be there in a few minutes. At 9:39am someone else came in to let me know that they were going to be 20mins later. at this point I was upset because if I was the one who invited someone to my office for a meeting I would at some point make an appearance to ensure that the guest was ok. At 10am Mrs. Sharp walked into the room to inform me that Mr. Campbell had a medical situation and that was the reason for the delay, Mr. Campbell walked into the room shortly after and confirmed the story. 7mins later Mrs. Stephens walked into the room and the meeting officially got on the way at 10:17am.
We opened with a prayer and went from there. I thought the meeting was called as a result of some concerns that I had voiced, but as it turned out it was about an interview that I had done with the breakfast club over a month ago. On the interview some statements were made by an ex-inmate (SET Member) about the fact rehabilitation doesn’t exist within the prison and also the fact that the prison is being run like a business. Some other things were said to which the department took offence and that was the basis of the meeting being called. The meeting was to inform me that there is a media policy, which had to be adhered to. What this means is that I am not supposed to conduct any interviews without first informing the department. I am also not allowed to speak the truth about what I see in the institutions or at least I must make It look better than it really is. They want me to contradict the men and women who come out of the system and speak of their experiences in a negative way.
Now in looking at this I see several tings one, how can I tell someone who have spent years in the prison and have seen and experience things not to talk about what they have seen or felt. And if they do talk about it they should do so from a level of good. well if I did that then I would not be students expressing truth would I?. If the department does not like the things the men are saying then maybe what they should do is set the record straight. Prove that what they are saying is wrong. If you have a location which is capable of doing something and you are not utilizing it you can’t talk about it as though something is really going on. That would be a lie. The fact is there is a lot more that the department should be doing rather than thinking about their image in the public’s eye. How about their integrity, perhaps that should be the main point.
Most inmates are dissatisfied with the system; many want to change but feel as though they are not given the opportunity to change. The people that are put in place to make the system work are not doing their job, because they are too busy thinking about their image. How can you fix problem when you refuse even acknowledge that there is one? Some of the people in the system seem to think that the only problem is the inmates and as a result see nothing else, and that is a major issue.
It is common knowledge that most of the contraband that is found in the prison is there as a result of people who work for the system and yet the bulk of the attention is still being placed on the inmate population. The public is not made aware of the fact that officers are a major part of the problem.
Some officers have a tendency to think that if something is being offered to the inmate population that it should be offered to the officers as well. The fact that you are an officer means that you have a job, you are required to do your job. The question is why are we trying to please the officers by putting in place programs for them because we are putting programs in place for the inmates. We are trying to rehabilitate the inmates; we are trying to do for someone who can’t do for him or herself. And each time we do something like this all it does is open to door to more of the kinds of thing that make this country as corrupt as it is.
The system needs to be sorted out, when you have an officer who refuses to perform his duty, a duty which he is being paid to perform because he wants to know what is in it for him, then we have a problem. What is in it for him is his paycheck that is what he signed up for. Listening to high-ranking officials speaks about rehabilitation and what it means to them makes me really worried. They have no idea. SET is one of the programs that is doing really well in the institution yet most persons at the head office really do not know how the program works. For the most part they think that it is a computer program. The director of rehabilitation sees no reason why he should come to a meeting with the SET group, a group which is doing as well as it is doing, and find out what the group is really about, get to know the men and women who are a part of the group and give them words of encouragement. They don’t do that because it is assumed that Kevin Wallen does that and therefore there is no need for them to do that. But when the men and women are released from the prison and speak of their situations and what they experienced they act like they have committed a crime. When in fact if the administration was more in touch with what was going on within the institution then they would not have been caught off guard.
Treat the people like human beings or else they are going to act like animals. If you don’t want them to act like animals then don’t treat them that way. If you want them to talk about all the wonderful programs that are being offered then you should make sure that they are being offered. The fact that there is a tailor shop that don’t mean that there is a tailor shop that is operational. That seems to be the major problem that the inmates are having, there is all this talk about all these activities which are happening in the institution. Though the facilities are there it is just not happening. Inmates are upset that the authority has never been in the room to take a look at what the inmates are doing yet they are in the media talking about all the things that are happening in those rooms. The inmates feel as though the authorities have no interest in rehabilitation and as a result they also feel that the authorities have no right to take credit for what the inmates have done.
I totally understand that we need to make sure that the image of the organization is in good standing.However we also need to make sure that we are Expressing Truth
SET is a good thing and many agree, yet there are many in the institution who are of the opinion that SET should be stopped and have gone to lengths to try and stop it. The people who have tried to stop it are not inmates but officers who for whatever reason don’t like to see the program strive. From its inception this group has always worked within the guidelines set forth by the institution. Yet we still continue to get a fight. There are officers who support the program but there are others who are adamant that this should be stopped. I am not here to make friends though I am also not here to make enemies, but if some one chooses to become either based on what I am doing then I welcome it. I have made no bones about it. I have complained to the relevant authorities what these people are doing to no avail. The individuals are still there and nothing has changed. Without perseverance we would have given up a long time ago.
I refuse to be a part of a lie. I became involved with this thing as a result of wanting to make a difference and made a promise to the men and women behind bars that I would be there with them to the end, and would love to be able to live up the expectation that they have.
It is obvious that there is a problem with the system and while others would take the stance that there is nothing that they can do about it we have decided to take a different stance, we have decided to stand up for that which is true. SET has challenged its students to express truth why would we not expect the same thing from the authorities.
If you keep on doing what you have been doing you will keep on getting what you have always gotten. Nothing will change, and, that my friends is not we signed up for.
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