Sociology class takes a trip to detention center

by Cindy Zheng, Reporter

Rebecca Scott’s sociology class took a field trip on April 3rd and 4th to the Frederick County Adult Detention Center located in Frederick. Centers like these all over Maryland are different and some will offer alternatives to imprisonment.

At the Frederick County Adult Detention Center, which currently has 280 males and 35 females, the clients choose to do pretrial services, home detention and or community service over imprisonment.

Of the 315 inmates, the Sheriff’s Office Corrections Bureau Chief, William DeLauter, said, “The average length of stay for an inmate is seventeen days.”

DeLauter has been working at FCADC for over 32 years. He is responsible for work releases, alternative sentences, and pretrial services. DeLauter also oversees the budgets, personnel, security and all in relation to corrections.

Senior, Olivia Wolfe, a student who took part in this trip said, “I really didn’t know what to expect when we arrived.” From all of the stereotypical stories, students don’t know the realistic image of detention centers. People “on the outside” tend think that everyone sent there is horrible and should be punished.

Not only were the students allowed to explore the detention center, but they also got the chance to speak to the inmates. Being able to ask them questions, students like Wolfe are able to learn from experiences and possibly change the path of their futures for the better. Wolfe said, “Anything can happen to anyone at any time and end up in a detention center.”

Although short, this statement sends out a powerful message.

Scott said, “I wanted the students to see that the world of criminal deviance doesn’t pay off and how restricted the inmates are.” She hoped that the tour would show how few rights the inmates have.

Scott said that at Christmas, the inmates were offered ice cream and, if they wanted extra, they would have to get someone from the outside to transfer money into their accounts.

The inmates’ daily lives are strict, and they have no opportunities to make choices for themselves. Flexible toothbrushes are given for oral hygiene. As for other tools, like razors, they are allowed to be checked out for three days a week under supervision.

Bringing students to such a place can be concerning for Scott, but she knew that both the students and she would be safe.

When an opportunity like a field trip rises, most students will either go to just have a good time or to get out of their actual classes. But in this case, more than just fun, the students gained an insight.

According to the US Department of Justice, jails are set for prisoners (of legal age) who have been convicted of felonies in federal court and sentenced for over twelve months. Often confused with detention centers, which are where detainees, not prisoners, are kept because they are waiting for a trial, the process of a mental health evaluation.

These terms can be easily misunderstood but there is also quite a big difference between the two as well.

The trip taken from Scott’s sociology class seems to have greatly impacted the students and the teacher as this was a first for them all. The students learned how detention centers are a serious matter and anyone can end up in one. As for the teacher, she has set up a bright future for her students.