Aug 4, 2011

"Why all those desks have tvs on them" : Technology and Reentry

One of our Deputy Director, John Megaw's favorite stories to recall about the challenges facing long-timers returning from prison is about a man who served 20 years and was released into our Reentry Court program. John escorted him upstairs to do an intake assessment with him and guided him down our clinic corridor which has cubicles equipped with the usual office ammenities.  John brought him into his office, the man sat down across from him, and said, "First things first, why does everyone have a television on their desk?"  John explained that those were actually computers, and realized just how much techology had changed since the man's incarceration. 

When I met Mr. X, who has been incarcerated for over 31 years and who has been the subject of a few blog posts over the past year, I remembered this story and thought of all the innovations that he hasn't experienced over the years.  In this excerpt of an inteview I conducted with Mr. X, he responds to my question about the technological advances that he is most curious about.

I would have to say the computer, the internet. You can locate anything on the internet. I also curious about  cell phones. When I left the free world we had big telephones in my apartment, now when I look at the news on TVI see everybody walking around with cell phones. They are talking and texting people. Also the big flat screen televisions and The GPS systems fascinate me. They have phones and computers where  you can see the person as you speak to them, the phones can take pictures and record things and small IPods, MP3 where you can have some many of your favorite songs on such a small device. I also got a chance to see how the U.S. Treasury changed some of the money (paper money). I do a lot of reading and I watch the news so I can know what’s happening out there.

My grandchildren also write me telling me about things she does the computer. My granddaughter Destiny, 10yrs.old, has written to me saying," Grandpa, do you know what these initials mean? OMG, LOL, TMI, BFF etc. I didn't, of course, so she has to tell me the answers. When she wrote me back she gave me the definitions to all the initials: OMG= oh my god; LOL= laugh out loud; TMI=too much information and BFF= best friends forever.