Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Re-training for Kairos (prison security)

When one serves as a volunteer in prisons, as I do with Kairos Prison Ministry, the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice requires that the volunteer go thru a course every couple of years. This course of a few hours refreshes one's knowledge of procedures for prison volunteers and for their relationships with inmates. I did this refresher training on Friday the 23rd, in the Dolph Briscoe Unit.

For a short time I was concerned about getting to Dilley for the training. You see, several days earlier I's arranged with Ross Hoover to get a ride with him to it. But then when I got home Thursday evening and checked my phone messages I heard one from Ross, that he wasn't going to be going after all; he'd just become a grandfather and was driving to Houston instead for the "blessed event"! Well good for him -- but not so great for me; immediately I began making phone calls to see if anybody going to take me along with him. And thus I missed the AHHS Choir's spring concert, which I'd eagerly anticipated all semester. "Oh, well!" to this latter, and "Not to worry!" to the former.

You see, the result was that I got a ride with Ed Palow, who was my roommate on Kairos Briscoe #1. We're both ordained clergy of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and are decidedly on the conservative end of the theological spectrum among Disciples clergy. Indeed, Ed considers himself as affiliated with "Disciples Heritage", a group that seeks to maintain the original focus of the leaders who commenced the Restoration Movement that became the Churches of Christ (noninstrumental), the "independent" Christian Churches and the Disciples of Christ. Anyhow, the two of us carried on a non'stop conversation all the way to Dilley (about one and a half hours, about Kairos, the recently-retired Area Minister of the Bluebonnet Area (CC-DC) John Callison, and several other areas of mutual interest. Among other items, I shared my impressions of the Closing for Kairos Torres #19 (see the previous posting). Then we ate at Millie's, a café that I'd recently been told was where the Dilley locals went for breakfast, and then would go to Pacho Garcia's for lunch or dinner.

And then, when the two of us arrived at the Briscoe Unit, we discovered that the refresher training was to commence at ten, and not at nine (as the most recent e-mail had suggested). But Chaplain Jerry Satterlee came out to the sally port (the front gate) to meet us anyways. I introduced him to Ed, who hadn't been at Briscoe in a very long time and thus had never met the new chaplain. Chaplain Jerry led us into the administration building and into a room to the right, where the training would take place. The three of us talked awhile, and then the chaplain excused himself to see to other things prior to the training. Ed and I continued chatting and sort of watching the television that was on in the room.

Eventually about a dozen other volunteers arrived; we were not all Kairos but we all did have connection with the chaplain's office. Also arriving was Captain Owens, who taught the security course. For most of us it was a refresher course, but a couple of fellows were getting the info for the first time. So it was lengthy and detailed, and numerous questions were asked for clarification. This was okay with me. It had been at least three years since I'd had any security training, so it was a heavy-duty refresher class for me! Indeed, I found out that one activity I did innocently was questionable by TDCJ rules. I won't be doing this again!

When the training was finished about a half dozen of us went to Millie's for a late lunch. And then Ed and I hit the road (Interstate Highway 35) north back to San Antonio. And all the way we were carrying on further conversation. . . .

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