[nobe-l] Question about Working in the Prison System

Meyer, Sarah Katherina skmeyer at bsu.edu
Sun Feb 11 17:20:33 UTC 2018

Please respond to her directly because she isn't necessarily 
subscribed to this list.


Hi David,
Could you please forward the following  message out to any relevant listservs?

I'm writing to see if anyone has any experience working in highly 
secure, criminal justice settings like jails/prisons, and if so, has 
also encountered any hesitance from employers to be allowed access 
for volunteering or employment due to safety concerns.

I am currently in the process of applying to co-facilitate a grief 
and loss psychoeducational group at a men's correctional facility in 
New Castle, Indiana, as a component of my Practicum in Counseling, 
and was originally rejected because the supervisors decided without 
discussing with me first that it would be too risky/unsafe for me as 
a blind person, among other uncertainties about accommodations. I had 
a successful meeting with one of the doctoral supervisors in which I 
believe I convinced him that my safety is my responsibility, just as 
any other therapist's safety is his/her responsibility, but they 
still want me to meet with the faculty supervisor, who seems to have 
some reservations.

I don't know if it makes a difference or not, but I think the prison 
is privately owned rather than state-run. Also, apparently, a guard 
is supposed to be posted in the room with the offenders and the 
co-facilitators, but this hardly ever happens in practice. I asked if 
there has ever been an incident of violence with the co-facilitators, 
and the supervisor said that to his knowledge, there has not.

I can empathize with their desire to protect everyone, but I 
definitely feel they are singling me out because of my blindness. I 
also don't know what to say if they were to ask, what if someone 
takes your cane and snaps it to use it as a weapon? I will admit this 
makes me a tiny bit nervous, but I'm sure that the offenders are all 
aware of the consequences of becoming violent, and I am an adult and 
can take responsibility for myself, blind or sighted.

If anyone has any advice or guidance, feel free to contact me at the 
contact info below.

Best wishes,


Sarah K. Meyer, B.A.
Masters Student, Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Department of  Counseling Psychology, Social Psychology, and Counseling
Ball State University
Phone: (317) 402-6632
Email: skmeyer at bsu.edu


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