Field Ed Profile: Ian Case at Manhattan Detention Complex

Field education at Union provides an opportunity for students to bring together their education, skill, and religious commitment in a way that can help them discover their call. Students do their field work in a wide variety of locations, from churches to shelters to non-profit organizations.
Ian Case, a second-year M.Div. student, is doing his field placement at the Manhattan Detention Complex in lower Manhattan. Ian spoke to us recently about his work.
What is your field site and what do you do there?
Ian Case, Union ’20
I’m at the Manhattan Detention Complex, also known as the MDC or the Tombs, which is a jail in Manhattan. It’s part of the Department of Correction. I offer meditation there. In two of the units, the men – and it’s all men – are in individual cells, so I’m only able to meet them one-on-one, which means that I’m in more of a pastoral role. The other two units are housing units, which means that the men can come out of their cells and spend time in a common area. In those units, I can lead small meditation groups.
The MDC is in Chinatown, very close to the Civic Center and the courthouses. It’s right next to the New York Criminal Court – you can actually get from the jail to the criminal court via a pedestrian bridge. Most of the inmates at the MDC are awaiting trial or sentencing, so it’s a jail, not a prison. It’s technically a transitional place, but many of the

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