How Inmates Restored My Hope In Respect

I am watching one of my favorite television shows N.C.I.S Los Angeles and for some reason I keep thinking about how respect has eroded in our society.

It is evening time and I could be relaxing however, I decided to write about my thoughts and share them with you.

You may or may not agree with me, but everyone has an opinion, right. I am going to share mine with you. You may know that I was a correctional officer for 10 years; if you do not I invite you to read my short bio.

In my previous two articles, I explained what women can do to gain an inmate’s respect. Then after a question by from Sue Neal of I realized male officers play an instrumental role in helping women win respect from the inmates, so I thought.

Prior to me beginning my career in corrections I was loosing my hope in respect.

What cause me to lose hope?

Years ago my nephew, who was around 17 at the time, told me an elderly neighbor disrespected him.

I was raised to respect my elders as long as they are not leading me down the wrong path; if they were, it was handled by my parents, not me.

Some of you may have been raised in a similar fashion.

So, my response to my nephew was as long as he is not cussing at you; you still need to respect him.

I know this way of thinking does not fly today. At that moment I realized how far in civility we have fallen.

I decided to go to the man’s house and see what was the problem. I took my nephew with me.


I informed the man I heard there was a problem with my him and my nephew, so I wanted to hear his side of the story.

What the man told me cleared things right up.

I was sitting on a couch with my back facing the kitchen.

The man said he has a daughter and my nephew was being disrespectful to his daughter.

A young lady asked me if I wanted some water.

I realized my nephew had told me a story to explain why the man threw him out of his house.

Cause and Effect: The man was protecting his daughter. My nephew was being disrespectful first.

Who is teaching who?

Shortly after that little mix up, I began working in the prison system.

At first I was a little stand offish because of an uncomfortable feeling around large crowds.

As my career went on, I became comfortable enough to have ordinary conversations with many inmates.

I began to notice a certain unexplained energy around the inmates.

I realized the inmates were going out of their way to respect each other.

I observed some inmates looking after the elderly inmates. They would ask another inmate; can I change the channel?

I was amazed because I had not imagined people society considers uncivilized to act so civilized.

Lessons learned: Do not prejudge anyone. All people are valuable. Look at the situation closer.