"BLOGGING ALONG" with Joyce Knock

Walk with me on my journey!



Does everyone deserve to be treated with dignity?

human dignityI have some new people in my life
and I met them in a rather unusual way
because a couple of Sundays a month I drive
25 miles to volunteer at a library where they live
the women all live together
and for now that is where they will stay
we always meet where they live 
it is not possible for them to visit me where I call home
they work in the library which I supervise
which is housed on the grounds where they live
hard workers they are proud to check out
and shelve books as a part of their job
earning about 49 cents per hour
time with them is spent chatting and sometimes being a bit silly
always polite and respectful they call me Miss Joyce
 often they  are complimentary about the clothes I wear
 expressing their likes about colorful pair of tennis shoes
with multi colored laces
maybe because their attire every day  is
 either blue or gray sweats, sweat shirts,  tees or knee length shorts
I believe that each of them has a special story about why they
are living here
however they are closed mouthed about who they are and the
  their life details
what I do know is that they are a human being
just like me and worthy of being treated with dignity
  in truth I know they have all made a mistake are now paying the price
for a choice or choices they have made
we all have make mistakes and in some cases lucky
that we have escaped the legal consequences
 I am hoping the wrong choices they have made
and now the price 
they now pay 
and that the stigma of that error will not
forever be who they are
 maybe someday I will see them after there stay here is over
somewhere else wearing colors bright
with their freedom a present sight      ###

Joyce Knock - volunteer - women's prison

#prison #mistakes #women #inmate #life 

Time is valuable..why give it away?


For the past 2-1/2 years I have been    volunteering at the Women’s Prison at Mitchellville in the General Population Library. I describe my position as an ‘overseer of the women’ who need no direction from me to  operate the library.    My presence  however does make it possible for the library to be open on Sunday afternoon as no prison  employees supervise or work in the library ever ……it is run completely by the women currently living there.  Working in the library is a coveted position in the prison and currently pays about 50 cents/hour.  As a volunteer I am the only person who can answer the phone, make calls to reception to share library hours, call security for opening and closure,  and make  calls to summon women who have books to pick up.  The women who work in the library are skilled librarians…capable to answer questions about books, authors, and subjects.

I have worked with some of the women for almost 2-1/2 years now and we have developed a unique respectful relationship.  There is much we can not share but there is much we can talk about  and discuss that has made our relationships unique and special.  One thing I do know is that I look forward to spending time with them  twice monthly for 2 hours and engaging in conversation with them about a variety of topics.  Being an inmate  has not diminished or robbed them of their ability to think, have opinions are ability to discuss a variety of issues.

One of the greatest benefits I receive each Sunday is an opportunity to ‘get out of myself’ and give some time to someone else which forces  me to not dwell on thoughts or concerns that might currently be troubling me.  It is amazing what these two hours of volunteering and one hour of driving time can do for my heart and soul…it is great therapy and for that I am thankful.

Until two weeks from now when I drive to the prison, enter the prison, pass through security, walk up the long hill to the library and I am greeted by these library women workers who no doubt will say, ‘How are you Miss Joyce?’  It doesn’t get any better!    ###




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