N.C. Department of Correction--Correction News--July 1997


By Teresa Cummings

Lillington -For a teacher, the greatest compliment in the world is to be respected by his students and to know that they appreciate the positive impact he’s made in their lives. Such is the case with Homer Tuttle, a veteran teacher at Harnett Correctional Institution.

"He has been like a father to me," said Lonnie McNeill, an inmate at Harnett. "He teaches me how to do things and encourages me to do my best. When I finish a job, he tells me that I did good. I never had anyone to tell me I could do anything good. He’ll make me do things over and over again until I get it the way it should be," McNeill said with a laugh, "but Tuttle is alright."

What Tuttle has accomplished is remarkable.

"I try to teach my students a skill and at the same time give them some dignity," Tuttle said. "These fellows have all made mistakes but my job is to account for their behavior after they enter my classroom, not before."

In Tuttle’s facility maintenance class, students learn more than just carpentry. They learn self-respect, responsibility, and honesty. Teaching within the walls of a prison often means that teachers such as Tuttle do not receive the recognition they deserve. Their job is challenging and difficult and requires tremendous commitment.

When McNeill was first assigned to Tuttle’s class, Tuttle quickly recognized McNeill’s talents and began nurturing them. McNeill recently completed his first air brush drawing. The drawing was requested by the Criminal Justice Partnership Program and will be used at conferences and workshops throughout the state.

NC DOC Correction News- July 1997
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