Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chuck Colson speaks celebrates Easter at Brooks correctional facility

Chuck Colson, a former Richard Nixon aide who went to prison on charges related to the Watergate scandal and the Founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, speaks to prisoners at the E.C. Brooks Correctional Facility Easter Sunday.

Mike Benson, center, a former inmate who now works with Prison Fellowship Ministries prays with a prisoner at the end of the Special Easter Service at E.C. Brooks Correctional Facility.

Rules, rules, rules.  After visiting Brooks Correctional I decided that I don't want to go to prison because they have way too many rules.  Plus they don't even serve coffee on a regular basis due to budget cuts.  It seemed as if almost half of the inmates who attended the Easter Service were there for the coffee and donuts.  I don't even like coffee, but coffee seems so basic being unable to drink it would be a deprivation.  So take it from someone has been there, for a little while, don't go to prison for a long time if you like coffee.  I didn't bother to ask what tea options were available.

My photographs reflected the strict limits I was under.  I could not photograph the prisoners faces, the numbers on their backs and legs, and anything else that could be used to identify them.  I think I walked the thin line of photographing nothing and nobody while still making sure no one was identifiable.  The last picture pushed the boundary a little bit by showing part of the inmates number, fortunately his number is partially worn off. 

This was my first time photographing in a medium security prison.  I have photographed in a minimum security prison filled with guys who just seemed a little confused, and guys I knew were convicted murderers in a maximum security prison.  But this visit was different.  Most of the guys seemed more like homeless people instead of super criminals.  I have a new belief that there are probably very few true stories about prison breaks, because I don't think many of the prisoners would have anywhere to go once out of prison.  I felt bad that I could not photograph the prisoners, because most of them seemed to want to be photographed and to alk to me.  But in prison rules are rules, and I wanted to obey them so they would let me back out, where I can continue to choose to not drink coffee.

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