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Gillian Sanger

Reminders of our shared humanity

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I am so humbled to have come upon this thread today.  I was recently in deep discussion with my partner about the school to prison pipeline, the prison industrial complex, and the common denominators of systems of oppression and childhood trauma.

As some of you know, I work in one of the most impoverished cities in America (Newark, NJ).  I live in a large city with obvious signs of the inequities of gentrification everywhere you look.  The haves and have nots, the seen and the unseen.  One thing I am learning from a friend and sangha member who teaches mindfulness at Rikers Island is the difference between a jail and a prison.  Jails, like Rikers, are supposed to be places where people are housed for short periods of time, awaiting bail or trial.  Conversely, prisons are where folks go to serve out their sentences.  Typically, prisons more often provide people with educational, spiritual, and rehabilitation services (though they are still often inadequate).  Because of this, many resources (like the Compassion Prison Project) are not available to those incarcerated in jails.  To compound the problem, many folks at places like Rikers are there for low level offenses but cannot afford bail.  This system is another glaring example of how those who are most vulnerable as a result of childhood and intergenerational trauma are left behind.

Seeing that woman's work and connection with those men was inspiring.  I had initially set off with the intention to use my mindfulness teaching with children and families living in marginalized communities- but I am called to thinking about the work done in prisons and wonder if I might be able to serve in that capacity...perhaps melding my professional work as a literacy instructor and my mindfulness work.  This has really opened up such a vein on compassion in me.  I am so moved to act.

Thank you all for sharing.  I am deeply grateful.

Rachel

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19 hours ago, Rachel said:

One thing I am learning from a friend and sangha member who teaches mindfulness at Rikers Island is the difference between a jail and a prison.  Jails, like Rikers, are supposed to be places where people are housed for short periods of time, awaiting bail or trial.  Conversely, prisons are where folks go to serve out their sentences.  Typically, prisons more often provide people with educational, spiritual, and rehabilitation services (though they are still often inadequate).  Because of this, many resources (like the Compassion Prison Project) are not available to those incarcerated in jails. 

Thank you Rachel for bring this up. The difference between jails and prisons is not something I can say I was aware of. And this difference in tools and resources offered to those in jails vs prisons is very important to note, and hopefully that will be addressed. It is wonderful you are feeling called to work in these settings! Inspiration can indeed arise in the most challenging of times.

Also - the link you shared to what I guess is an Instagram photo does not work as your daughter's profile is private. Just so you know 🙂

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Thank you, Gillian- for some reason, any time I try to add a photo or video (other than a link)- even for a profile pic, I get the message that the file is too big, although I am not sure why.  I would love to share the video of Julia,  so if anyone can give me a little tech support, it would be appreciated.

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On 4/21/2020 at 9:39 AM, Samira said:

I work with Tim McCormack and Kath Meadows, who also do a lot with prison programs for mindfulness and yoga. Such valuable work. Thank you. 

How cool Samira! That's my goal as well.

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6 hours ago, Gillian Sanger said:

Thank you Rachel for bring this up. The difference between jails and prisons is not something I can say I was aware of. And this difference in tools and resources offered to those in jails vs prisons is very important to note, and hopefully that will be addressed. It is wonderful you are feeling called to work in these settings! Inspiration can indeed arise in the most challenging of times.

Also - the link you shared to what I guess is an Instagram photo does not work as your daughter's profile is private. Just so you know 🙂

Jail is for sentences less than a year. Prison is for sentences a year and a day or longer. 

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6 hours ago, Gillian Sanger said:

Thank you Rachel for bring this up. The difference between jails and prisons is not something I can say I was aware of. And this difference in tools and resources offered to those in jails vs prisons is very important to note, and hopefully that will be addressed. It is wonderful you are feeling called to work in these settings! Inspiration can indeed arise in the most challenging of times.

Also - the link you shared to what I guess is an Instagram photo does not work as your daughter's profile is private. Just so you know 🙂

From what I understand, jails can be holding places for people charged but not yet convicted, as well as those serving time less than a year. Prison is for those with a sentence longer than a  year. 

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18 hours ago, Rachel said:

Thank you, Gillian- for some reason, any time I try to add a photo or video (other than a link)- even for a profile pic, I get the message that the file is too big, although I am not sure why.  I would love to share the video of Julia,  so if anyone can give me a little tech support, it would be appreciated.

Hm that is strange that this is happening for even a picture. I just did a test on my own side of things to upload a 1-minute video and it worked. Can you take a screenshot of the error message you get when you try to upload even a picture and send it to me in a direct message? And how large is the video file? Let me have a look to see if there is another way of sharing a video. Perhaps if there is an external platform that it could be uploaded to and then linked to. I will look into this...

EDIT -

I just did a quick search and Vimeo could be an option for sharing the video. But also send me the file size and error image so I can look into it further 🙂

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