My career in Corrections began in the 1980’s, when I worked for the State of Minnesota and assisted the Minnesota Department of Corrections in securing a grant to fund one of the first computer-based correctional education programs in Corrections. It continued in the 1990’s when I worked for a computer-based education company as a marketing manager and assisted in the implementation of learning labs in the Federal Bureau of Prisons as well as many state and local correctional agencies. One of the highlights was visiting Folsom Prison in California (the new one not the one that Johnny Cash sang about) and seeing our PLATO learning lab staffed in part by prisoners who had received their GEDs and were now assisting others.
Many years later, I applied for and accepted a program coordinator position for the Community Restitution Program at the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department. We assist our probationers in meeting their court-ordered requirements for community service at hundreds of non-profit and governmental organizations throughout the county. We also supervise probationers at weekend projects where we maintain parks, assist residents in keeping their landscaping in compliance with city ordinances, assisting neighborhood organizations and cleaning alleys and other public accesses. In the course of our work, probationers get to develop good work skills, learn to work as a team and get to give back to their communities. And our agencies get invaluable labor that allows them to fulfill their missions and serve their clients. Working directly with clients and seeing them develop the skills that are essential to functioning successfully in their daily lives is probably the most rewarding part of the job.