|3 Time on The Line||Dec. 15, 1997|
Continued from Cover
Statistics across our country within our "Prison Environment" show, without a shadow of a doubt, that the abuse of alcohol and drugs has a major impact on why people become involved with our system of incarceration. To some people, this may be a difficult thought to comprehend, especially, if we identify the statistic with isolated situations and individuals. The grim reality that exits within the confines of these walls is that a great majority of inmates are addicted to either drugs or alcohol. These are very over-powering substances and can gain control of ones whole existence. That is "Why" we, need programming to both monitor, and rehabilitate the offender from both a therapeutic and educational level.
I, Darwin, being an inmate at the Salmonier Correctional Institution, have no problem in stating that I am a "chronic alcoholic" and it has carried me to these cold walls more than once. But I understand the need for program intervention and it is through programming that the future can become brighter. I will always be an alcoholic but I do not have to be a practicing one.
At present, I am enrolled in phase II of an addictions program at Salmonier. This program is facilitated by Mrs. Cathy Croucher, an addictions counsellor from he "Waterford Hospital," and by Classifications Officers, Ms. Mary Aylward and Mr. Bob Pike.
In an interview with Mrs. Croucher, on December 1st at S.C.I., she enlightened me on her professional skills as a counsellor, her work experience and her thoughts pertaining to the system.
Mrs. Croucher, who I will refer to as "Cathy," is a very pleasant individual who can give any room a touch of relaxation. To look back at my first introduction to her I could immediately sense her desire to help and to both understand and learn from our experiences.
Cathy is both well educated and well skilled in the area of "Addictions Counselling." She has a Masters Degree in Social Work and she specializes in addictions within correctional populations. She has worked in this field for approximately nine years, seven of which have been within the correctional system.
Cathy does enjoy her work and, although the clientele may be unique from the eyes of some people, she can identify all the positive aspects within each and every one of our lives.
She said that when she was first introduced to the prison system, the prison classification team would brief her on offences and the type of individuals she would be working with. Her years of facilitating programs and of doing one-on-one counselling has made her brave and has given her a comfort zone within the system.
I also questioned Cathy about her views on funding within our justice system and if she felt a need for more. It was encouraging to learn that her views were very similar to that of the inmate population. She, definitely, would like to see more funding for individual counselling both on an internal and external basis (while inside and upon release).
Within the system, Cathy has been confronted with individuals with a lot of different problems, ideas and attitudes.