I hope someone can offer some advise. At Folsom State Prison in California, we are under the auspices of the Catholic Chaplaincy. The priest who is our "sponsor" is very, very difficult to work with. He makes it quite apparent that he does not welcome our program. Our programs are often not listed with the other religious offerings, our men on occasion have complained that they are not let out for our services. Rules that we are given often contradict previous rules given. This especially applies to ducat lists. We need more volunteers but were told we have enough. I avoid dealing with this individual as much as I can, and prefer to go through the Community Outreach Coordinator who has been more reasonable. However, last week when I questioned why one of our men was not allowed out for services (according to this inmate, the CO said that they were only releasing diabetics... whatever that means), the Community Outreach Coordinator said I would have to take it up with the priest. Which means... nothing will happen except I will get a good "talking to." Each time I have an issue to be addressed, the priest sidetracks the issue by bringing up a "rule" I am not following. (see above to contradictory rules!) In addition, he apparently seems to have no use for women in any sort of capacity. But I digress.
As I am reading this post, I see that I am venting and bringing in too many issues. So, bottom line is... since California unfortunately does not have a Buddhist chaplaincy program in any of our prisons, what can I do to make sure our men AND volunteers are treated with the same respect as those that go to Christian services? Do I file a complaint? Do I recruit legal aid? Do the men file a complaint? What happens to them by the system if they do?
This is just one of a myriad of issues that we face in the hopelessly overcrowded, nonfunctional, immoral California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Any help is appreciated. Diane