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Saturday, 26 April 2014

This blog (and blogger) is here to help

Why do I blog?

I was asked that a few days ago, by someone who knew I did it but hadn't seen this blog or knew what the content is. It made me consider my reasons not only for blogging here, but for a few other things that I spent time online doing. My overall motivation is to help people.

In my day job, my work is a mix of helping different sets of often contradictory user groups in achieving similar aims. Conflict resolution and compromise are big parts of my daily mind set. It is often the case that to help one user group actually disadvantages the others, so a balance has to be found and sometimes the balance helps no one particularly well.

For as long as there are prisons and inmates, there will be an ever moving conveyor belt of people who want to write to them. I say "write", but more frequently these days emails and phone calls are also included in that scenario, and for some, also visits. All of these freeworld people have to start somewhere.

There are several forums online related to inmates, and communications with those in prison. Some are big, some smaller, some focused on a specific group of inmates or type of correspondence. Each has their place and their uses, along with their egos and atmospheres. Think of them as pubs or bars along a small town high street. You can crawl from one to the next, slowly becoming intoxicated by the various flavours on offer. Some may have a doorman, or a dress code, and some may be the old style bear pits that regularly get raided every weekend. But these days you can also get your beer at the supermarket, and at small corner shops. And some people brew their own.

This blog is me brewing my own flavour of information for those who are in some way involved with an inmate. This blog is (hopefully) not a pretentious champagne or an overbearing red or a thick pint of stout. The concept is that by sharing some of the stuff that my husband and I go through on our journey, we might help others avoid future pitfalls or perhaps show that there is a different way of doing something.

With that in mind, I have discovered a small piece of helpful information that is now available on the TDCJ inmate locator pages. When you search for an inmate and get to their details, you will now also see whether they are eligible for visits. I think this is a really useful piece of information, though you should always call the unit before travelling to see an inmate because the TDCJ website is usually 24 hours behind real time.

But well done to TDCJ.