N.C. Department of Correction--Correction News--February 1998

News Briefs

Williamston - David McKenzie, a Sandhills Youth Center community volunteer, was recently recognized by Gov. Jim Hunt during the Governor's Award Program for Outstanding Volunteer Service held in Williamston.

Over the past 12 years, McKenzie has voluntarily provided direct services to Sandhills Youth Center by offering Maximize Manhood Instructional Lessons to the inmates. McKenzie utilizes training videos and instructional materials prepared by motivational leader Dr. Edwin Louis Cole and the Christian Men's Network to teach inmates the principles of Maximize Manhood. In addition, McKenzie also serves as a Commissioned Volunteer Associate Chaplain within the N. C. Division of Prisons and frequently accompanies Sandhills' inmates onto Community Volunteer Leaves for Worship and Fellowship Activities.

As C.E.O. for McKenzie Paving Company, McKenzie has provided employment and residence plans for numerous ex-offenders over the tenure of his involvement as a volunteer.

Halifax County - District 6A Probation and Parole staff members brightened the holidays for an underprivileged child this Christmas by donating $367.00 to purchase a bicycle, dolls, games and clothing for the child. A committee of district members chaired by Pat Thompson and comprising Karen Bozard, Tammy Lassiter, Doug Hardy and Penny Bunch spearheaded the project. Santa Claus presented the child with the gifts during a Christmas party attended by staff and the child's mother.

Smithfield - Andrew Somers, a member of the faculty at Johnston Community College who teaches cooking classes to inmates at Johnston Correctional Institution, was recently nominated for Teacher of the Year for the North Carolina Community College System. Somers was one of five finalists selected for the award. Jane Young, director of educational services, said Somers' nomination is an honor for the Division of Prisons. Somers was hired by Johnston Community College three years ago to teach inmates the basic cooking skills needed to staff prison kitchens statewide. However, Somers' lessons cover much more than the basics. Instead, he teaches the inmates how to make everything from guacamole dip to Julia Child's chocolate ruffle cake. Somers even wrote his own textbook when he could not find one suitable for his class, and the prison system published it. In addition to his textbook, Somers has also written a guide to help former inmates find jobs and lead successful lives outside of prison and has started two programs to improve the lives of inmates, I.H.O.P.E. and the Rainbow Writers Project.

Raleigh - Ann Williams, an accounting technician in charge of accounting for prison canteens, was named Employee of the Quarter for September through November 1997. Williams was selected for the award by Cathy Hardy and Wesley Taylor for her work with the Division of Prisons to resolve longstanding reporting problems on the DC-194 form for cashless facilities. Sam Newman, controller for the N.C. Department of Correction, said that since beginning her new duties in July, Williams has demonstrated a high level of motivation and has proven to be a self-starter, quickly mastering new responsibilities, while at the same time, being sensitive to the training needs of new employees.

Morganton - Inmates and Community Resource Council Members at Western Youth Institution recently participated in Make a Difference Day. Each year more than one million Americans participate in community service projects as part of Make a Difference Day. Community Resource Council Members Millie Gordon, George Brown, Merle Martin, Nell Causby, Albert Epley, Jim Lowdermilk, Max Bristol, Norman Duckworth and Diana Spangler-Crawford helped inmates plant trees, shrubs and bulbs around the newly-constructed Visitor Registration Center. Tom Reep, rehabilitation therapist coordinator at Foothills Correctional Institution, assisted the inmates with the design of the 188-square-foot landscaping project.

Salisbury - Staff and inmates at Rowan Correctional Center helped several underprivileged families have a merrier Christmas this year by donating and repairing 30 bicycles for needy children in Appalachia. David Ellis, program assistant at Rowan Correctional Center, coordinated the bicycle project, and Mike Baker, maintenance director at the Center, assisted the inmates with the repairs. Volunteers with the Parson of the Hills Christian Outreach Program distributed the bicycles through community organizations.

Roanoke Rapids - Halifax County probation officers, with the assistance of the Roanoke Rapids Police Department, recently performed a search of an intensive probationer's residence which proved to be very successful. The search, planned and coordinated by ICO Thomas Barrett, resulted in the arrest of the probationer and the seizure of 27 grams of crack cocaine, a handgun and a large amount of cash.

Clinton - As founder of the United Community Outreach Program and Christmas Caring Toys for Tots Program, Valerie Reynolds has helped make a big difference in the lives of many less fortunate children and their families. Reynolds, a food service assistant at Sampson Correctional Institution, has spent the last four Christmases organizing and running the program which provides approximately 200 needy children each year with toys and food during the holiday season. The program culminated with a holiday party complete with food, entertainment and a visit from Santa.

Raleigh - Excess potatoes harvested and canned by inmates at the state prison farm were recently donated to the Food Bank of North Carolina. Approximately 40,000 pounds of potatoes were distributed to homes across eastern North Carolina. Food Bank representative Anne Arella said the Food Bank was extremely thankful for the Department of Correction's donation.

Raleigh - Inmates at the Raleigh Correctional Center for Women recently assisted the North Carolina Chapter of the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse by cutting 250,000 blue ribbons to be used in the committee's 1998 April Campaign. April is recognized nationally each year as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The 250,000 blue ribbons prepared by the inmates will be distributed throughout North Carolina during April as symbols of commitment to the prevention of child abuse. This is the second year in a row that the inmates at the RCCW have cut ribbons for the campaign.

NC DOC Correction News- February 1998
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