By Vici Pierce

How cool I thought it would be to be a jail administrator, to be in charge of inmates and staff? At first, although overwhelming it was cool, but after a while the reality of the job, the day to day stress, the challenges of getting through daily operations wore me down and I start to wonder, is it worth it? Am I ever going to accomplish the goals I envisioned when I took the position? Am I going to make a difference?

As one great man told me when I started this journey, “Never give up”. You can make a change and influence others. You just need to get them to buy into your dreams and goals so that they become theirs. As a team you are unstoppable in what you can accomplish.” At this point I have an incredible administration and staff that have the same dreams and goals and we work together to accomplish them. They have made my job incredibly fulfilling. I could not imagine doing anything else and will probably work until I’m 90!

One of the biggest hurdles that we have faced in our facility is training. Most of the trainings are held at distances 6-8 hours away not within our budgetary constraints – limiting us in the amount of quality training our staff can receive.

We had to get creative by designing our own trainings that fit our facility’s needs. We set up our own 40 hour basic Detention Course and FTO program as well as other trainings. Even with the hiring process, we got resourceful in finding people that are interested in working in a jail environment by introducing them to the jail processes before they are hired. We introduce them to the jail environment and allow them to observe our daily operations. Being informed before being hired has increased our employee retention. Being a smaller jail, we are also implementing NIJO’s Legal-Based Online Jail Training (DACOTA) to get quality administrative staff training to avoid travel costs and overtime.

Don’t let obstacles like these stop you from thinking “inside the box” and figuring out what might work for you and going after it, like we did. By that I mean, be imaginative but stay within correctional boundaries. Remember success begins with you…it’s all a state of mind.

Bottom line, get creative, get your staff involved and never give up, you can overcome the obstacles that get in your way.




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