If you were a warden, how would you handle long-term prisoners?

Expert Answers
wordprof eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Given that the warden’s tasks are multiple and complex, regarding long-term prisoners, the three areas of concern are security for guards and fellow prisoners, health and safety of the long-term prisoner, and (most importantly) the rehabilitation of the prisoner.  This means that the long-term prisoner should not be merely secreted away, but given a life-chance, a project of the will, a reason for giving his/her life value.  Because the long-term prisoner is usually a multiple offender, the warden has an opportunity (and an obligation) to change the prisoner’s world-view, his/her reason for being.  This can be accomplished by offering multiple chances to explore other opportunities – art, music, literature, scholarly study, hobbies, etc.  Many prisoners, for example, become “jailhouse lawyers,” by studying all the available law books; others write autobiographies or novels, given some paper (or access to a word-processing computer).  Of course, safety concerns are still there – a prisoner can learn shop techniques or carpentry, for example, if there is sufficient control over tools, etc.   Some examples in real life have been playwrights, farmers, even dog trainers.  The main point is that the warden must see the long-term prisoner as not only a prisoner in his/her care, but as a human being still capable of living a meaningful life.