Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

I was asked one day to describe going home. I said, “Think of a train going down the track at 90 miles an hour. The train won’t stop, but you must get on. The best way of doing this is to build a ramp. And there’s only one set way of landing. Too far left, you get sucked under and die. Too far right, you get sucked under and die. You must land just right, and at the correct time and speed.”

How does one do this with obsolete courses and training? What happens when the training you received is wrong and outdated? There will be no job. Are you to settle for being a casualty of the system?. How can we get good direction and training in prison? Many of the courses that are offered are out of date. How can we expect a person to be ready to lead a productive life if society is still leaving them behind? 

Everything offered to prisoners is at least 10 to 20 years old. Most things are on the internet, sure, but that’s not available to us. The school books are so outdated they’re falling apart. Let’s take for instance, plumbing. Most plumbing skills have evolved to the point that the old way of “laying pipe” is a thing of the past. Why is that what we’re being taught? Many people feel that felons are only capable of grunt work; work in a factory and stay out of the way. But we deserve better.

Even if we do go home, we can never make up for the lost time and lost wages. No matter how we try to get you to see it from our point of view, people on the outside will always be blind to what they’re asking us to do.  The system seems to expect us to walk back into our family’s lives like we just came home from work for the day. Jump right in and take care of business. So, I will ask again: are the skills that are being taught in prison really helping people return home?

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Marvin Myers is a writer from Columbus, Ohio, who is incarcerated in Ohio.