Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Brush Inmates First To Finish Accreditation

What's missing from the article is how CCI is going to help these women get jobs once they are released. I wonder if the facility is doing the foot work to make sure the graduates have some direction or, at least interviews when they get out.

Fort Morgan Times
The first three graduates of a statewide animal-trainer apprenticeship program received their certificates recently at High Plains Correctional Facility in Brush.

Supporters gathered during the graduation ceremony to recognize inmates Susan Ayres, Lee Ayala and Janell Mongahan for completing the program, which is accredited by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Thought they hadn’t yet graduated, five other inmates were also recognized for moving up the ranks in the program. Those honored were Crystal Terry, Dana Brown, Cheyenne Corbett, Anne Ashcraft and Melissa Pace.

“We look for those opportunities to celebrate so that we can acknowledge the efforts of everybody that participated and graduated from these programs,” High Plains Warden Ron Murray told the crowd of inmates and their family members at the ceremony.

The apprenticeship curriculum is established by the Prison Trained K-9 Companion Program, which is offered by Colorado Correctional Industries. High Plains Correctional Facility was the first to offer the program as an accredited apprenticeship, and other Colorado facilities are now following suit.

The program gives qualified inmates an opportunity to gain professional credentials and earn a stipend by training dogs. Each enrolled dog spends about six weeks with an inmate trainer.

“To be in the program and have a dog 24 hours a day, seven days a week is not only a privilege, but it’s also a lot of hard work,” said program Superintendent Debi Stevens, adding that the inmates have to clean up all messes the animals make.

She said the inmates first teach the dogs to quietly sleep while crated in their prison cell and refrain from chewing, barking and whining. The dogs then learn basic manners and obedience, she said.

The inmates also offer specialized training, Stevens said, and they have produced several service dogs for people with disabilities.

Some pet owners pay a fee to have the inmates train their animals. Other dogs come from rescue shelters, and they are adopted to new owners after being trained.

“Our job is to give you guys a job, to teach you a vocation and to operate like a business, which means that we are not tax-funded,” Stevens told program enrollees.


Barney said...

The probable reson why there is not mention of helping these women get jobs is that they are nowhere near ready to be released. Only 1or maybe 2 of the women involved in this program are going to be eligible for release in the next few years. Most have many years to go before they are even eligible for release. One is serving 48 years; another is serving 40; and a third is serving 16 years. Since this is not an ongoing program, they will have forgotten any skills they have learned before they are ever eligible for release. This should be a program for women (or men) who are soon to be released, so that it can be of some benefit. As it is, it is just a way to show the public what a wonderful(???) job they are doing with rehabilitating criminals. What a joke!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonomous you stated it well, however i doubt there is many animal trainer jobs available. In the area of job training wouldnt it be better to offer training in areas really have openings as in Nursing, computers, ect. djw

Anonymous said...

At LVCF in Pueblo, the women are trained to pull weeds and told they can get a certificate to apply towards other weed-pulling jobs (farm work) after their release. I'm sure when they parole back to the inner city, they will find a lot of farm jobs available!