|A drive down Division Street|
|By Joe Bouchard|
There is a very dangerous road in all corrections settings. This thoroughfare is known as Division Street.
It is not difficult to see that any prison or jail is very much like a city. The comparisons of services in either setting simply jump out at anyone who ponders this. There is a restaurant, a library, a police force, a medical center and housing units in each.
Let us delve a bit deeper. Some of the same street names surely exist in your city as do in a corrections setting. However, the street names in your city are actual while those in jails or prison don’t really exist. They are really models of behavior that we label in order to understand in a fuller manner.
One of the longest, most convoluted streets in corrections is Division Street. Its properties are almost magical in a nefarious sense. It is very wide in order to accommodate a high volume of traffic. Unexpected turns in the road seem to trap drivers on Division Street. There are very few places from which to turn off. Exits are rarely to be found. Those that exist are inaccessible. Division Street is deeply rutted, so drivers experience much difficulty in turning off. Yet, like Rome of old, all roads seem to lead to Division Street.
Division Street is a one way street with very heavy traffic. It ends by going down a hill. As one crests the hill, the drop is awe-inspiring. It is a very slick downwards slope. The further one goes down this incline, speed gathers. The path is clear. There is no other end to this trip. The last thing that the helpless traveler sees is a high, immovable wall of dangerous rubble. Your vehicle, hitherto under your control, careens into a heap of chaos. Of course, as you lay there in the midst of the consequences of your choices, you realize that the top of the Division Street Hill was simply a point of no return.
How does one find oneself trapped on the fast-moving Division Street? Like any large highway, ease of merging is often built in. Entry onto Division Street can be quite seamless. The driver, in fact, might be unaware that they have entered the hard to exit thoroughfare. We might enter this metaphorical street if we are lost. Professionally speaking, our predisposition to traverse Division Street can mean that we are:
Do not lose hope. A drive down Division Street does not necessarily mean an inexorable plunge into danger. This can all be circumvented. Such hazards are metaphorically avoided by knowledge of the landscape, the use of a map, input from trusted sources, and possibly a GPS system. A roadmap to human nature is a bit more elusive. However, experience and professionalism shine the way. And above all is the agency roadmap – the mission statement. This is the map of all maps.
Division Street is hazardous, but it is not an inevitable route. Just as in driving, we must keep our eyes on the road when we engage in complex human relations.
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