In my second full week of this internship, I felt I was getting more established as I got a better idea of all I would be working on throughout the summer. One of my biggest responsibilities will be working on correspondence. This includes responding and writing letters to donors, people who are currently incarcerated, and people who had been recently released. It was really interesting reading the different letters from the people in prison. Few of them had poems written, while others were just asking for information as to how to get involved with PCAP. The thing I disliked most about writing these response letters was the way in which I had to identify each person by their prison number rather than their actual name. I did this by inputting each person’s number into the Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS). While the option to write their name was there, it was much easier to identify the person by the number because that’s just how the system worked. I tried to balance being personable and professional within the letter, only giving information that I was allowed to give according to the prison laws while also encouraging the incarcerated individuals to continue writing to us. I will also be working on the newsletter which includes everything that is coming up with PCAP and the ways in which people can get involved in future events. I also began facilitating a theater workshop at Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility. I went there for the first time this past Monday and they were surprised to have a male facilitator for the first time in years. I was overall excited to be with these woman and it was an interesting dynamic to be the only male in a room full of so many women. Even the co-facilitators I came with were woman as well. It made me think about the demographics of people doing this kind of work. In PCAP, and in this internship you mainly see white women as the majority. It is very rare that you will see an African American male interested in the re-humanization of incarcerated individuals through the use of the arts. I have no answers as to why this is but I believe it falls somewhere along the lines of gender roles and masculinity. You don’t see a lot of males in general doing social justice based humanitarian work. This work also takes a level of vulnerability and you will often times make yourself look foolish with the end result being that you learned something and gained a deeper level of understanding. I am also learning the importance of paying attention to detail when logging each incarcerated individual into the PCAP mailing list. We keep a log of every individual we come in contact with so that we can continue sending them newsletters and the help they need when they get out. It is very tedious work making sure I have the right addresses, prison numbers, and names, but it is all worth when the individual gets the help that they need. I am finishing up the correspondent letters this week and next week I will be working on putting the newsletter together.
- First Day | #1
- #4 / Halfway Done