Thursday, May 10, 2007

Brainwashing the Re-Entry Crowd

Homeless Services Meeting

I attended the Office of Homeless Services Advisory meeting. Don't worry you didn't miss anything...It is one of the worst named groups in the City, because they do not give advice to anyone. The one bright spot was that an actual homeless person was selected to this discussion group. No progress on ending homelessness, but the County Office of Re-Entry was introduced and their new staff gave a presentation. This is a very good idea that the staff of the Office of Homeless Services were instrumental in starting. Everything is going along well with their presentation until they threw in this phrase "cognitive restructuring." This is the euphemism that the Re-Entry crowd is using to tell employers and potential landlords that they are transforming these guys into productive members of society, but it sounded so Guantanamo-Nazi- creepy in a U.S. Department of Justice way.

Every time the staff of the new office used those words I got lost in thought trying to think what "cognitive restructuring" exactly means. Was this a shock treatment? Was it one of those movies with half second images and the person is seated with his eyelids forced open? Was it spending the entire day reading "Cathy" the cartoon and "Hints from Heloise" all day until the individual breaks from reality? Then I am thinking shouldn't we have had this cognitive restructuring before the guy went to jail? If we invested more in the children couldn't we have saved a lot of the incarceration money? Then I am sitting there thinking about the HBO series "OZ" and how the hell does a person get cognitive restructured after fending off murders, rapists, and white supremacists? Then the meeting ended.

Sr. Donna Hawk finally spoke up asking the presenters to stop using these words. Office of Re-Entry is a great idea--the language they are using is very bad.

Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.

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