The (retired)Inmate Whisperer

I started this blog during my time as a Clinical Social Worker at a prison in New England. This blog helped me both maintain some sanity and expose the corruption that takes place in such a setting. After 5 years of this difficult work, I have moved on. This decision was difficult but necessary to preserve my own mental health. Now I work in a partial hospitalization setting, part time and also as a per-diem clinican working with primarily women. My long term goal is to have a private practice that both affords me freedom and independence and makes counseling affordable for those who truly need it. I am crafting this vision now and am excited about the possibilities.

Rather than changing the name of this blog, I am keeping it the same. After all, I am a therapist and my business is getting into people’s minds. I can tell you from expereince, that they function as much as a prison as any real one that exists in this world. I am still going to use my job as a way to reflect on the world I live in and on who I really am or perhaps who I want to be. You cannot be a good therapist if you do not continually do your own work. Helping others can be a significant opportunity to do just that. So this is my journey. Enjoy the ride.

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8 responses

5 04 2010
Krissy

Hello, I kinda just have a few questions about your education, as peculiar as that sounds. I’m in the process of applying to get my masters and I just want to make sure I’m heading in the right direction. I’m also interested in burning out in a prison. I’ll be forever grateful to hear more thoughts.

-Krissy: just.enoughh@yahoo.com

25 04 2010
Brooke

Hi,
I’m about to embark on the final step of attaining my MSW…the dreaded internship! I have been accepted at a state correctional institute and am nervous about what that might entail. I’ll be doing my formal interview next week, however, I was hoping to gain a little insight prior to that meeting. I was told on the phone that I’d be rotating between three facilities in the city, as well as “doing groups.”
Would love to hear what that might mean to a seasoned worker such as yourself. I currently work in a nursing facility… very different.

8 11 2010
Cara

Hi there, I have been doing some research on prison rape and social work and I came across your blog. I am sure you are busy and have a lot going on but do you think it would be possible for me to ask you some questions some time?

16 11 2010
Kara B

Hello,

I see you’ve already got a comment remarkably similar, but I am thinking about grad school currently. I’m going to get an MSW but I’d like to work in the prison systems (perhaps bring about some social change?), and I was hoping you could give me some advice and direction about what to study, perhaps where to study, etc. Much appreciated if you would like to send me an e-mail.

24 03 2011
Lauren Vazquez

Hello,
I am presently in my final semester at Temple University. One course i am now taking in called, “Rehabilitation of the Offender.” I have always been inclined and driven to do social work/counseling. Presently, I have been working very hard with an inmate who wants to turn his life around, but because no one has the time to listen to him, this road has been long and difficult. However, after a lot of knocking on the FBOP;s doors, Senators, Regional, DC congressmen, he may now have the opportunity to debrief, and remove himself from the very dangerous position he faces as a “snitch” on his former gang. If he is granted Protective Custody, he will, hopefully, be able to complete his 21 1/2 year sentence (8 years remaining) in safety. he dreams about the happiness he never had. One day, he may see that.

So, what I guess I am getting at is after all this hard work, no counselors wanted to hear him. No one took the time out to really listen to him. He would have ended up dead, if just that ONE person took the time to really listen. I want to be that person who gives my heart and my time, because change should be attainable to all, and the correctional facilities have a duty to rehabilitate and protect the inmates, especially those who are most vulnerable.

I will graduate in May, 2011 with my BA in Spanish. However, I want to work with the prison population, assisting where it is needed. How can I pursue this type of work? Where would I even begin to start looking? What extra education/degree might I need?

Thank you for any feedback you are able to give.

Very sincererly,
Lauren

21 01 2015
Alicia

You stuck it out much longer than I did. I’m a nurse in a prison and after 8 months I have decided I can’t stand the chaos, ineptitude, constant overtime, backstabbing, and lack of support anymore.

3 05 2015
Tonya

Hey there, just wondering if you ever had any inmates comment/ or legally engage you because of info in your blog? I am 8 years into my career as a parole officer and was thinking about blogging my experiences on the inside…life in the day of-sort of thing…does the disclaimer you have protect you well enough?

As well, glad you were able to get out when you did…some people are stuck because of time in and the all beloved pension…it becomes a ball and chain…

7 10 2015
polytreeblog

Love this, am looking at going into the intake service center here in Hawaii. Wanted to also get into a social work position with inmates as I am interested in a career more towards mental health especially for mothers who are in prison. Any advice? Do you think work as a social work in prison would be a good fit for someone interested in possibly attending medical school to become a psychiatrist in the future?

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