By Laurel Edington
Seniors traveled to the Middleton Jail in two groups for the annual field trip that teaches students about poor choices.
Chemistry teacher Keith Gray, who has chaperoned the trip for five years, said, “I think the point of students in general going is to see that they’re one bad choice away from ending up in a place like that. For seniors, I don’t see it as scared straight. I see it as more of a matter of fact: this could happen, just don’t make a bad choice.”
The first group of students went on March 17 and the other group went on March 25.
As each group entered the jail, every student went through the metal detector and then Deputy Jason Faro and Lt. Steve Driscoll met them to talk about the jail. They talked about the importance of showing respect to the inmates, which included not yawning, sitting up straight, and not fidgeting.
Afterwards, the students traveled into the jail to the visitor’s center to meet with inmates.
Two inmates, Willy and Coco, met with both groups. These two men had over 50 years of time in jail combined because of drug use.
Each told about how their imprisonment had emotionally hurt their families and themselves. Neither can find a respectable job when they are released and they haven’t seen family members in years. Bubba also met with the second group. He was in jail because he was involved in prostitution.
On March 17, the seniors weren’t able to go to the control center and walk through the jail because an inmate had to be removed from his cell.
“The prison staff was going to do a forced move of an inmate, and that’s something that the general public is not allowed to see. It can become violent with the inmate and the staff,” Gray said.
Students found the trip enlightening.
I thought that it was a very realistic, tangible experience,” senior Christine Walder said. “The trip made everything about jail more realistic. It also showed that, unlike many TV shows that exaggerate everything, jail is just as bad as it is made out to be, if not worse.”
Senior Noah Prince said the trip was fascinating.
“It was all very interesting, and some of it was very sad or disturbing. I couldn’t really feel any connection to what they were saying, as I will almost certainly never be in their position,” he said.
Assistant Principal Paul Murphy said that the trip is a valuable experience.
“I think it’s important for everyone, not just students, [visit] prison because one bad decision could send any one of us there,” he said.
Freshmen will be visiting the jail on April 8 and May 6.