Saturday, December 10, 2016
Back to Work
I have completed my orientation and begin my new work tomorrow. I am now an employee of CoreCivic, serving as the second full time Chaplain at the Red Rock Correctional Center in Eloy.
CoreCivic is a private Corporation that runs a 2000 man Correctional Facility 40 miles south of Sun Lakes, a lovely quiet drive that is not hard to make twice a day at all for a person motivated to work. They have facilities in 11 states and are the largest private rehabilitation company in the country formerly names Corrections Corporation of American, now CoreCivic to reflect a large move into leasing facilities back to states and running many new re-entry homes for those freed to return to the outside world.
I am on the Program staff and we have our own building that looks a lot like your High School Corridor with Classrooms, Computer training Room and Library. I am in the Chapel with a nice corner office where all the Religious Services and Bible Studies are held.
Next door I have teachers with strong Christian faith helping the men get their GEDs and for all, get an Arizona academic equivalency in English, Math and general studies. I will organize the various services run each week, respond to requests for Christian materials and provide counseling in my chapel and in the various housing pods. Next week I work with the present Chaplain before he moves to a new office and chapel in the expansion of the facility. He has been at it a while and will show me all I need to learn. I am also surrounded with lots of friendly, eager young men and women thankful for well paying jobs in Corrections, and a great seasoned staff that is like a big family.
The Private prison provides a place far more humane that most State run facilities, with AC and a staff well trained in keeping everyone safe while they pay for the crimes they committed with time.
I will not sugar coat the fact that some of the inmates have serious problems and violent pasts. My job begins with treating each of them with dignity and representing the Lord in my day to day movement throughout the facility, in the visitation rooms with families, and times when I bear hard news to those inside about something that has happened in their families.
There is also training in gardening, electrical work, construction, to give these younger offenders a chance for a better future. Years ago I took Prison Fellowship training and helped in a similar prison in Florence and always felt an interest in this type of work. Grateful that there is no age discrimination in this workplace that that they recognized my skills in relating to people and promoting personal faith in a tough place.
Laura is getting very busy as a sought after substitute and next week will teach full time for a quarter for a maternity leave. Our alarm clock is back in business.
I feel good about this decision and pray my health and strength will be adequate for the tasks ahead. The Company gives a very generous paid time off policy with each month you gain days of vacation, so maybe another trip to the Big Island will be in store for next summer or fall.