DIVERSITY CAN BE TOO DIVERSE: Or, Have your dog and eat it, too

[In which it is postulated that cultural clashes in the Pokey are sometimes bad for business….]

This afternoon, copy clerk Rob Perkins tells us the tale of Mr. Lee and the NEADS terrier.

The NEADS acronym stands for the National Education for Assistance Dog Services. The NEADS program has been inside MCI-Norfolk for about two years. Before that, it began about six years ago, at the North Central Correctional Institute at Gardner, MA. The program quickly received State and critical acclaim, and this was for several reasons. The public get trained dogs to use. Inmate participants get a living creature to be responsible for and to use as a companion. The Department gets inmates who are easier to manage. The State gets good positive publicity in the public’s estimation. It’s what we in this word-hating culture call a “win-win situation.”

Mr. Lee is a Vietnamese man, about 65 years old and, like many of his fellow Vietnamese, has enjoyed eating dog.

Mr. Lee is in the hallway in his Housing Unit when one of the NEADS inmates comes through leading his terrier. As prisoners stand about, fussing over the dog, Mr. Lee comes over. “What kind of dog is this?” Mr. Lee asks the group. Mr. Lee is told. Mr. Lee says, “Never seen this breed.” Mr. Lee reaches down and feels around its belly. Mr. Lee announces “Good meat!” Mr. Lee then picks up the dog and tries taking it away.

Mr. Lee is prevented by the other inmates, who really don’t want Norfolk to be in another Jay Leno monologue.

pooch on a platter

Later that week, these same inmates spot him out in the hallway, leaning against the wall, eyeing the dog.

That’s all NEADS needs – an inmate to eat one of their life assistance dogs.