Great Expectations: Part II

By Tony Casson

The dental exam went in similar fashion–the dentist looked around and told me to put in a request (called a “cop-out”) to be added to the list to be seen for cleaning and filling. From what I have been told, the list requires a wait of 10-12 months, the same goes for optical.

Fortunately, since I am over 50 years old, I am entitled to a “complete physical” every year, otherwise I would only get one every two years.

Educationally speaking, there does seem to be some push to make sure people get at least a GED, and I am led to believe that the institution receives a bonus of $2500 for each person receiving one. But I have no way of verifying that.

There is a list of “self-study” courses that are available, so I picked one up on “writing a marketing plan”. Thought it might be interesting, and you do get “credit” for it. It’s a booklet that is actually informative, I had 7 days to complete it and return it, and the “final exam” consisted of 4 questions and was included with the booklet.

The recreational facilities available are far greater, better funded, better attended, and better supported, and while I would agree that recreation is important, I think education is more so.

I read before coming in here that the national literary rate is 96%, but the literary rate of incarcerated individuals is more like 50%!

In the handbook for Oakdale FCI (read on line and see for yourself), education, health, and welfare, and employment are talked about as if there is a very sincere effort being made to rehabilitate individuals, but the reality is something different.

This country has more people who are incarcerated than any country on Earth and the incarceration of individuals simply doesn’t seem to be helping. In fact, since 1980, the number of people incarcerated has quadrupled! In Norway, the incarceration rate is 69 per 100,000 population. In the US, the number is 753 per 100,000!

President Obama, during his campaign, speaking on this subject said, “…we will review…to see where we can reduce the blind, counterproductive warehousing of non violent offenders.

Now, all of this being said, that still leaves us with the question of alternatives, in general, and “sex offenders” in particular, because this is the most rapidly growing area of criminal activity and prosecution in the country, the situation is destroying countless families and, in many cases, doing nothing more than criminalizing stupidity and a breakdown in morals, and I am NOT–let me repeat–NOT here to defend pedophiles, or individuals who commit physical crimes against children or sexual crimes, such as rape or assault against anyone.

Hopefully, as time goes on, people will begin to understand. I can only try to help people understand. Even though I run the risk of doing nothing more than alienating people, and/or embarrassing myself or my family.

Some people think I should shove this all under a rug, do my time, and be quiet. Perhaps, as time goes by, those views will change and become more tolerant, understanding, and accepting, and everyone will understand that, while I will endeavor to sometimes entertain here and retain a sense of humor in all that I do, the overall message is one that I do take very seriously and is one that I, because of what I have done to myself and my family and friends, feel I have to discuss publicly.

The decision to discuss these things was not made lightly. I understand the potential for public exposure, but I decided that, while my shame, my embarrassment, and my overpowering sense of failure almost cost me my life–as you will soon see–what it did cost, and will cost, is a price that is almost as high, and if one person reading what I have to say wakes up and realizes where they are headed–if one family is spared the pain I have caused mine–if one person’s attitude towards myself, and others like me, is changes, then any further pain or embarrassment I cause myself is worth it.

Those who are opposed to this format because they don’t wish to explain things to people they know (because they know me, or are related to me) need to understand that this isn’t about them, and I apologize for any inconvenience to them. This isn’t really even about ME.

This is all about evil, and the fact that evil is seductive.

This is about a person, and a society that began as the moral equivalent of “I Love Lucy” and, over time, had wound up the moral equivalent of “Family Guy”.

This is about the creation of a sub-class of citizens, making monsters out of the misguided, and victimizing the families of these individuals.

Most importantly, this is about where we are as a society, and what we need to change and why, if we are to survive ourselves, and what we are becoming.

I am truly, deeply sorry for my part in this story. I am embarrassed and ashamed of myself, and for my family, that the man I thought I was could deteriorate into the monster society perceives me to be.

I simply do not have the power to change the past. God knows I would if I could.

But perhaps I can help to change the future, for the better, just a little bit.

3 thoughts on “Great Expectations: Part II

  1. DANIELLE

    My brother is trying to get a transfer to Oakdale, so he can be closer to family. I just want to know if they have washing machines and dryers, microwaves, etc. I just want to know what condition the prison is in because he was told that it was a very old out of date prison. Please let me know. Thank you.

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  2. Larry Peters

    Danielle, a message from Tony:

    Oakdale has laundry services, so they do not have individual washers and dryers in the housing units. There are microwaves, but sometimes they are taken from us as punishment for some infraction or other. The facility was totally rebuilt, I was told, in the late 80’s after a riot and fire (kind of like the scene under the bridge in Miami in Scarface…there used to be a lot of Marielitos here and they rioted.) The facility is very clean and has A/C and is maintained. No complaints there. It’s just prison. Hope this is helpful.

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