Inmates give warden first humanitarian award |

Inmates give warden first humanitarian award

Larry Langston
Warden Michael Budge, back row center, receives the first Humanitarian Award from inmates at the Nevada State Prison. Nevada State Prison photo

Editor’s note: Warden Michael Budge was given the first-ever Humanitarian Award from inmates at Nevada State Prison April 1.

Warden Budge put none of us in prison, but it is true that he is charged with keeping us here and how he keeps us here is what’s in question.

There are some that feel a prison sentence should mean continuous punishment throughout incarceration.

There’s no argument, that except for the rare case, we put ourselves in prison. And we did it though our poor choices and decisions – and contrary to what some may think – we are suffering the consequences.

For most of us we will get out of prison at some point and that raises another question. What kind of person is being release, not so much to, but on society?

Warden Budge, coming up though the ranks in his career, has seen first hand the detrimental effects of warehousing inmates. He has seen hundreds of inmates caught in the revolving door of recidivism. He might not have a cure for the disease, but he is attempting a treatment – using a large dose of compassion.

Warden Budge demands that we be treated as human beings. He has seen our positive response to kindness and our enthusiasm over opportunities to better ourselves.

Despite strong resistance and resentment from both inside the prison and out he has accomplished fantastic things in Nevada State Prison.

And it is not so much the physical changes that Warden Budge has made in the prison that deserve recognition, as much as, the emotional and spiritual relief he has granted us. In more ways than one we truly have become – “free on the inside.”

For the most part, we no longer have the sense of us against them and remarkably, we feel we have an ally in Warden Budge – someone in charge who will listen to us and care about what’s happening in our lives.

Those of us who have been in this prison a long time consider Warden Budge a humanitarian.

He is firm, yet fair, approachable, reasonable and always looking for way to help us feel better about ourselves.

Warden Budge knows helping us become better people “in here” will mean we will be better people “out there” and maybe, just maybe, not need another trip back to prison.

Warden Michael Budge is very deserving recipient of this prison’s first-ever award of this nature – not because of what he has done – but because of the kind of person he is to have done it.

God bless Michael Budge.

Larry Langston is inmate No. 19478. The article was written on behalf of the old timers of Nevada State Prison. Spring 2004