Spartanburg County, South Carolina suffered from one of the worst health rates a couple of years ago. With high pregnancy rates, high crime rates and high poverty rates, the county was headed in what seemed to be a horrible direction.
After much collaboration with nonprofits and other foundations, there was a big change in the health rates of Spartanburg. One of the biggest changes was the implementation of new programs in their detention center.
For a mass media and health class, I had the opportunity to visit the Spartanburg Detention Center and experience something that can only be described as life-changing. Each student took away something different from the experience, but here’s what I learned and what I’ll never forget:
1. Being in jail doesn’t necessarily mean you’re guilty.
One of the first lessons learned that day was there’s a difference between being arrested and being convicted. Most people who are put in jail are people who were arrested and are awaiting their court date, not actual convicted felons.
After their court date, if these people are proven not guilty, they can continue with their everyday lives, granted they’re not placed on probation. This was essential to understanding the people we would encounter during our tour. We were about to encounter possibly innocent citizens who are sitting in a jail cell because they don’t have enough money to bail themselves out.
In a similar light, there are people who actually committed a crime roaming freely around the county because they were wealthy enough to bail themselves out. All they have to do is wait for their court date. This is extremely unfair, in my opinion, but this is just how our justice system works.
2. You eat where you sh*t.
Jail is no joke, and the inmates we talked to made sure we understood this. When the tour began, I didn’t think we would actually be able to walk around the jail and see how these people lived.
One of the first rooms we saw was a room for three female inmates. The sheriff asked them to step outside for us to see it, but there was really nothing to see.
All these women had was a small room equipped with a bunkbed, a twin-sized mattress on the floor next to them and about 3 feet of space between each bed.
There was a small sink and a small toilet. There is no cafeteria at the detention center, and the food is delivered directly to their cells. There was absolutely no room for activities that involved any kind of physical movement.
3. You can’t judge circumstances you’ve never experienced.
As soon as the sheriff asked the three women to step outside, they respected his orders and walked out, backs against the wall. One of them was holding a book, which is not something I would typically expect from an inmate.
When the sheriff asked them to say a few words to the young women touring the detention center, what they had to say changed my perception of them almost immediately. They were all mothers. One of them had been in jail every year since 2007.
“And why do you think you keep coming back?” asked the sheriff.
“Drugs,” she said.
Her voice, her sad eyes and her story were powerful enough to make me view her differently. And that’s when it hit me: It’s wrong to judge someone before hearing his or her story.
4. It’s never too late.
The Spartanburg County Detention Center has many programs that are used to encourage the inmates’ mental health. They implemented GED programs in which the inmates can earn a degree after participating for a couple of months.
The sheriff told us a story about a boy who was 23 years old. The court decided he was innocent, so he was forced to leave the facility before finishing his GED course. He begged the officers to let him stay and finish.
After many arrangements, he was able to graduate. The determination some of these inmates exhibited is something we all can take a lesson from.
This boy actually wanted to stay in prison in order to finish his education. That is admirable.
With determination, people can take the people they were and turn themselves into something entirely different and positive. They can become the people they want to be. With a strong mind and good intentions for oneself, anything is possible.
Many of these people are way beyond the point in their lives where they need to be worried about getting a GED, but they recognized it’s a necessary step in becoming successful in this world, especially after being arrested and imprisoned.
It’s never too late to go back to school or even teach yourself something new. It’s never too late to do something you’ve always wanted to do, but never could. And it’s definitely never too late to successfully become the person you always dreamed of being.
5. It could be anyone.
The sheriff who gave us the tour made sure we knew the risks of being an irresponsible adult.
“Every single person in this room is one bad decision away from ending up at a detention center,” he said.
Think about how many bad decisions we all make or how many bad decisions our friends make that can send them to a detention center, but these decisions (luckily) go unnoticed by the law. It’s important to think about that every time someone is about to make a irrational decision, like driving a car after one too many beers.
My trip to South Carolina was an extremely educational one. Anyone we know — even ourselves — may end up in jail because of the way our justice system is set up.
I’m not trying to minimize the actions of some of these inmates. Some of them have done a lot of bad things, and they know that. I’m trying to show our communities that just because someone is in jail or has been to jail, that doesn’t mean he or she is necessarily a bad person.
We need to make sure others know how important it is to never judge a book by its cover because you can never truly understand someone else’s circumstances. But, you can try and put yourself in other people’s shoes, just like I did by spending a day at the Spartan County Detention Center. At the end of the day, that makes all of us more human.
Author: Mercedes Leguizamon
Source: Elite Daily
As a Pisces, I can tell you pretty confidently that we’re a pretty tough group to read.
Don’t get your panties in a bunch, though — I love myself and all my fellow Piscean friends, but you have to admit, you either have no idea what’s going on in your Pisces-friend’s head, or you are the Pisces who constantly feels misunderstood.
Well, I have good news!
You’re not alone, and you can thank your sun sign for all that confusion.
Here are 10 reasons why no one understands a Pisces, and why that is totally okay:
1. Pisces is the 12th sign of the zodiac.
Being that Pisces is the last sign of the zodiac, those born under this sign have a mix of characteristics from all the eleven preceding signs.
This means that Pisces are somewhat at a constant battle in choosing how to feel and that non-Pisces have an extra hard time figuring out how one feels.
Pisces are pretty indecisive, even with the silliest of decisions. However, they are also very open-minded. A Pisces is the friend who always says yes, even if it means he or she has to cancel later (guilty).
This battle of characteristics force Pisces to think before feeling. Yes, Pisces can be quite impulsive, but they think before they act first even if it doesn’t seem so.
Being this way means they are always willing to try new things at least once.
2. Pisces are always seeking new experiences.
Pisces are constantly looking for new things, but don’t let this offend you; they are most happy when they have someone along side them, experiencing these new things as well.
A Pisces would most successfully be in a relationship with someone who is just as stir crazy and up for anything.
If a Pisces feels trapped, he or she will most likely revert to his or her impulsive side and jump at the first opportunity for change.
3. They are compassionate and charitable.
Did anyone else cry while watching the new GE commercial? I did.
It can seem like a Pisces’ compassion even for strangers is a little over the top, especially in this world. But, it really is a good thing and it’s totally genuine. When you need someone to be compassionate with you, you’ve got it.
4. They have trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy.
Pisces are, at heart, dreamers. Jupiter and Neptune, the latter of which represents illusions, rule them.
Pisces shift from goal to goal and sometimes, those goals may seem impossible. To a Pisces though, the goals are as close to reality as it gets. Silly fishes.
5. Empathy rules.
Pisces are extremely empathetic. Sometimes, they place another’s emotions over their own, and this can be chaotic because they are then left to fester in their own ignored emotions.
This is also great because if you ever need a shoulder to cry on or genuine advice, a Pisces will selflessly give it.
6. They can only think straight when they’re alone.
Locking yourself in your room for an hour usually means something is wrong, right? Not necessarily for Pisces. If they are socializing 24/7, they are probably on autopilot.
A Pisces needs to take time to him or herself to gather thoughts and feel productive.
7. They are inherently introverted.
This basically means that they are always trying to surround themselves with new people, but they don’t know when those people switch from new people to actual friends.
A Pisces finds it difficult to be his or her full self around people to whom he or she doesn’t feel close.
This can come off as fake or closed off, but in reality, it is most attributed to a Pisces’ innate curiosity about other people’s lives and stories. Excuse Pisces and their many questions.
8. They accept literally everyone.
This has gotten me, personally, in a bit of trouble. A Pisces assumes the best in all people. In fact, it was probably a Pisces who coined, “innocent until proven guilty.”
A Pisces-hosted party is an interesting sight — people of all walks of life are welcome, as far as a Pisces is concerned.
9. They’re a little oversensitive.
And by a little, I mean a lot. Words cut deep with Pisces, so this might be why your Piscean friend hasn’t been as chatty lately.
Be careful with your words and be honest with how you feel because Pisces are also sensitive to others’ emotions. If you’re feeling stressed, a Pisces can feel it. Trust me.
10. They need role models.
… And they look for it in everyone. If you feel like a Pisces looks up to you, it’s probably because one does.
Without a role model, a Pisces feels lost and usually can’t decide what his or her next goal or step should be.
Author: Ilia Jones
It’s not easy loving a Pisces.
Members of this sign can be a bit wishy-washy and emotionally driven, and they’re constantly living in a dream-like state.
As a Pisces, I know all of my partners have had to, in one way or another, adjust and adapt to my ways.
What can I say? It’s difficult when you are naturally drawn to just going with the flow.
If you are in a relationship or looking to pursue a relationship with a Pisces, here are 10 things to keep in mind:
1. They seek true love.
Pisces need to feel loved, though they won’t always explicitly state it. Being with a Pisces is more than just sharing a bed or a home together; they seek a deep spiritual connection.
This could be due to our dreamy state, but Pisces want to believe true love can exist between two people.
2. They are devoted.
Of all the signs in the zodiac, Pisces are the most romantic and caring. They display their affection with beautifully romantic and elegant gestures, further demonstrating their creativity and devotion to their partners. Pisces let their hearts speak and rule over them.
3. They are intuitive.
Pisces always listen to their guts. They can sense when something is wrong or off.
If you are having a bad day, or maybe stayed out too late and don’t want to get in trouble with your partner, don’t try to lie to Pisces. They will call you on it.
4. The are passionate.
The sexuality of Pisces is very romantic and mystical. One of the biggest turn offs for a Pisces is crude behavior, as they prefer sweetness and passion.
Sex with a Pisces is intimate, passionate and mind-blowing. Pisces will always give!
5. They are deep.
Communicating with a Pisces can be difficult sometimes, as their thoughts can go down elaborate paths. Understanding and communicating with them requires you to follow their winding road of thoughts.
6. They are giving.
Pisces are notorious for their indecisiveness. When dating a Pisces, it has to be remembered they are givers, they’ll sacrifice and they are all about the flow.
Feel like watching a chick flick, but your Pisces wants action and gore? He’ll sit through and watch your movie without a peep because he is with you, and you are happy!
7. They need alone time.
Sometimes, when the tough get going, a Pisces will become a recluse and avoid everyone and anyone. Because of their high emotions, Pisces can become overwhelmed. They will need to escape, and this may come in the form of drugs, alcohol and thrill-seeking bad habits.
It’s important to show your support and be there for them when they are ready to come out of hiding. Like fish, they can startle easily and hide even longer.
8. They value simplicity.
Pisces enjoy simple pleasures. Yes, they enjoy the being with their friends, but they aren’t really a fan of large crowds.
When it comes to dates, Pisces would rather have a simple dinner than a crowded, elbow-to-elbow restaurant. That isn’t to say they wouldn’t mind these things on occasion, but balance is key.
9. They are dreamers.
Though Pisces love living in their dream worlds, the last thing they would want for you to do is pop their bubbles and ruin their illusions.
Though you may think it’s time for them to come back down to Earth, popping their bubbles is essentially shutting down who they truly are. Pisces can live and handle the two realities with ease, and it often contributes to their creativity and inspiration.
10. They’re loyal.
Pisces are not usually the ones to leave relationships.
Like the element of water of which they are a part of, they adapt to the container of life and the relationships they find themselves in.
Loving a Pisces can be hard at times, but know you will have their love forever. Their happiness will always be tied to making sure you are happy.
Author: Merylee Sevilla