Inside Chad, Richard attends small meetings with other inmates and one of the parole agents. The meetings “teach problem-solving and perspective-taking.” They talk about their fears, mostly their “fear of getting in trouble,” and they talk about the behavior that gets them into trouble. They talk about “risky thinking,” like thinking “maybe I shouldn’t have” done this or that, and they identify other types counterproductive thinking. “Overgeneralizing” and “catastrophizing” thoughts are also risky, they decide, along with “desperate and deserving” thoughts. Like rich people who think they deserve wives, one inmate says. “They can be hella rich and they can be like, ‘I deserve to have a wife’ and you start to feel hella bad for yourself,” he says. “Yeah,” says another inmate, “but I’d rather be them then be here.”
Ironically, the meetings that Richard attends while an inmate at Chad follow a similar structure and purpose to restorative justice. Open dialogue allows the inmates to talk about important subjects that both help and hinder their rehabilitation, and this is another way to hold inmates accountable. Furthermore, the inmates’ comments about rich people further underscore the social inequalities present within American society by insinuating that they wouldn’t be an inmate at Chad if they weren’t also poor.