This evening I was the guest lecturer at a class on public speaking - in prison. It was part of a college curriculum for selected inmates under a program developed and funded by a now deceased local benefactor who believed strongly in the power of education to change the course of the convicts future life. I started with a 45 minute explanation of the current water situation with a Q&A session as an example of a typical speech. Then I talked about how I had gone from being absolutely scared of public speaking in my teens to the current state of being able to talk to any group any time without qualm. All in all a lively class with bright and inquisitive students. And like any class room experience, the teacher often learns a lot as well. Thus I bring you
Five Things I Learned In Prison Tonight
- The rabbits are going wild. I must have seen 20 rabbits running across the exercise yard on the way to the education annex. In the snow and rain and freezing temperatures no less.
- Never forget to tell the invisible guard you are clear of the door he has remotely unlocked for you. He might threaten to leave you there permanently.
- Students are really avid for these classes. When the cell block gets the call for the education program, the student-inmates literally run to make sure they miss no part of the class.
- Walking back across the exercise yard after dark during the last exercise period makes one feel very alone - even though a stream of higher security inmates and their guards are scattered around the area.
- The questions and concerns of the inmates differ little from the community as a whole, especially on the water issue.