No school in the SHU

I tried to start a program out in the SHU and it was one hot mess. Out of 90 students, I had maybe two who actually did the work and returned it in a timely manner. 88 of them spent their time 602-ing me–wanting computers, televisons, CD players…all kinds of things I don’t even have. I spent more time answering 602’s than I did breathing. Some of them demanded 1/2 time (for every day they were in school, they get a day ff their sentence)–except in my case, where I don’t offer day for day, since they aren’t actually in school and really, a guy who can’t manage to send in a single assignment in 90 days isn’t really a serious student but a scammer. In my opinion.

So I dropped all my SHU students (well, there were only a couple left, since after 45 days of no work, they get dropped). Evidently they didn’t understand that part. They thought they got to decide when they stopped being in school, not me. (They would be wrong.)

So now I am still getting notes, wanting to be in class ( Sorry. No.) and phone calls from hither and yon….and I just don’t have enough room in class for them. I can only have 120 students and I am full, with a waiting list of 300.  When their SHU term is over, they can enroll in school on the mainline.  It’s not like I put them in the SHU.


SHU are the secure housing units where disruptive inmates live. It is more secure, as opposed to the open yards and dayrooms on the mainline. Part of it is to protect the inmates who don’t do well in a prison setting; part of it is to protect OTHER inmates who simply want to do their own time with a minimum of problems from others. They have more stringent rules (no staples, no paper clips, no hardback books, no cd’s. no cd players.)


6 thoughts on “No school in the SHU

  1. You are sooooo intolerant. Expecting at least one assignment in a 90-day grading period. tsk tsk

    I remember the last time I tried to teach Jane Eyre and 2/3 of my seniors took Fs rather than deal with the book.

    Stubborn little buggers.

  2. what a shame! i heart jane eyre (though i have no room to talk as i boned up on extra credit work in senior year english to avoid the dreaded “write your own sonnet” exercise…

  3. I have my opinions for these creeps — hard labor and maybe a tent to sleep in with others. No privacy. Heck, some of them have better places to stay than many homeless people. I remember a time in my life that I wished I had the guts t do soemthing so I could go to jail and live in a warm place. I just couldn’t bear to lose my children. . .

    1. Prison at best is a pretty stiff punishment. It marks a man for life. In the SHU…well, I think living in a tent would be better. They are locked up with almost no physical contact. Stripped out and shackled everytime they go anywhere. And left alone with their own thoughts. In Illinois, the Tamm model is probably the harshest…and yet, what do you do with guys who don;t know how to play with others? Even in prison, there is a code of behavior and honor. It’s not the same one we have but prison is a closed society. The guys in the SHU don’t even get that.
      Granted, they act scary and crazy because some of them are and some of them are great actors. But it must be hard time. Even breaking rocks you get to go outside and see the day go by. In the SHU, all the company you have is yourself.
      I’m not sorry for them as much as I’m sorry for the wasted lives and resources. That money could go a long ways in helping out families who need a help up. But at what price? It is a problem I struggle with becasue many SHU guys are not guilty of a hideous offense. They just don’t adapt to life in prison very well. At all.
      I wonder how I would.

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