In between what seemed like a gazillion rosary and bible requests on Monday, there were at least a jillion phone calls. Most of them were pretty easy to deal with, but then there was this one:
"Good afternoon. Chaplain O'Donnell."
"Chaplain? Hello, my name is Kyle."
Kyle had a few questions to ask. "I understand that usually a community college is associated with a prison. Is that true of where you are?"
It is. Centralia Community College staffs our education center.
"And are there any classes to take beyond the GED courses?"
Because we're a receiving prison, we really don't offer much. GED, yes. And some Information Technology Certificate classes. Some of the guys are real whizzes with computer programs. I explain all this, and when he asks if people can take anything they want, I tell him that most everyone in general population has to work and keep the place running, so they may have time for one class at a time.
"But really, " I say, "you should be talking to the Education folks. Could I transfer you to them?" That was fine with him, but now, I was curious.
"If you don't mind my asking, why are you interested in our education programs?"
There's a very small silence, then Kyle says, "Well, I'm going to be an inmate there and I'm trying to plan ahead."
I wished him luck, then transferred the call. Then I laughed.
We work so hard to get offenders to make plans for when they release from prison. This was my first experience with someone who was taking planning seriously.
I almost told Kyle to look me up when he gets here. But I didn't. I have a feeling I'll run across him anyway.