Judging “Book Covers”

About a year ago, I started a new job, working in a medium security men’s prison. It houses sex offenders and has the better mental health facilities for the state…meaning other prison’s send their patients to us for stabilization. Now I do have to say that we do have other types of prisoners with different levels of security. There are some that are allowed to work with us in our offices, some who are able to move about somewhat freely, and some that need to be segregated.

So what does that “book covers” saying have to do with this? Well you can’t really tell anything about a person from how they appear. Many of our prisoners don’t look like criminals, or even murderers. If they weren’t wearing their uniforms, we wouldn’t be able to tell them apart from other staff.

Here’s an example. The other day, I was returning from lunch. My department is inside the gated doors inside, so I was waiting for one to be opened when an older man come to the other side. He was somewhat on the skinnier side, maybe a few inches shy of 6ft, might have been in his 70s with completely white hair. He looked like a nice older grandpa type who wouldn’t hurt a fly. And he was in the prisoner’s all white uniform.

As I said, we do have a few different types of inmates, so this guy could have been convicted of burglary or something like that. But I don’t know that…and you can not tell by looking at him. Since he’s an older guy, it’s more likely that his crime was something more serious.

By now you’re wondering what the point of all this was or not. My point is that old saying is true. You really can’t look at a person and tell if they’re the average joe, a petty criminal, or the worst person that you could possibly meet. In this day and age, you can still give a person a chance, but always be careful.


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