Two weeks ago, I arrived at the Joliet Treatment Center as a resident worker. JTC is a new and state of the art facility that has been commissioned by the Federal Government to observe and treat each resident with the utmost care and guidance to ensure proper release to a normal prison setting or the outside world. It is one of three currently active facilities to offer treatment and programs for the state’s SMI (severely mentally ill) population. The Illinois Department of Corrections has unfortunately, like most penal institutions in this country, become the holding ground for the state’s psychologically impaired, ranging from low to high risk, and the truth is that most facilities lack proper care and treatment for these individuals. This new facility is the prioritized location for these psychologically impaired persons and I, along with 33 other “model” inmates, have been chosen to be resident workers, handling all the operational jobs that the facility is required to have.
So far, maintenance detail around the campus is what I’ve been busy doing. Arranging, moving, and organizing furniture is what most of this work consists of. Eventually, I’ll be assigned full-time employment, once they reach the point of hiring more supervisors for each department. By next month, they plan on bringing in the psychologically impaired persons, so we’re all making way little by little. I have private cell currently, and the privacy and solitude have been a great relief from the former 100-man dorm. Plenty of rest, and the food is extremely delicious and plentiful :) We were even served rosemary chicken the day we arrived. It tasted so foreign at first, but soon enough I smiled at how beautiful my taste buds felt. Desserts are off-the-chaaain! Peanut butter cream brownies and strawberry shortcake are a normalcy, so I’m enjoying that.
The yard is extremely small, but I still run about 2-3 miles when I get out, or play basketball. The gym was just opened about 3 days ago, so I’ve been playing basketball or lifting weights. Another aspect is how much grass and trees are spaced all over the facility campus. Apparently, they chose to enforce a rehabilitative landscape to ensure full treatment for all individuals. For almost the entirety of my prison sentence so far, trees played no part in my environment. So once I saw all the trees here, I was in awe and really began to enjoy the true nature of Mother Earth :) Until next time,