BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES IN COLORADO
By Sandy Gray, Webmaster
Colorado Correctional Industries
There is one thing that Colorado Correctional Industries (CCi) believes we do better than anyone else and that is to reduce the recidivism rate. We do this by “Building Opportunities.” We help offenders develop a work ethic and we make them accountable for their mistakes. We build their self esteem with positive feedback. They become positive role models for other offenders while on the inside and they are our success stories upon release to the outside.
Here are a few examples of our many success stories.
• “Robert” was trained in Web Design while working in CCi. Upon release, he has built
a web site for his own business and is currently building web sites for others.
• “Schultz” worked in the CCi Call Center and now has his own sign company in Arizona.
• “Dante” worked in the CCi Call Center and now has his commercial driver’s license and is employed as a truck driver.
• “Steve” worked in the Panel Shop and did all the wiring for the CCi Call Center at Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility (AVCF). He is currently on parole working as an electrician in the Grand Junction area.
“Sean” came into DOC’s custody at the age of 17 and spent 22 years behind bars. In January 2011, he received a release by the Governor of Colorado. One of the determining factors for his release was the positive changes he had made while working for the CCi Call Center.He recently called the call center to find out a location of a driver’s license office. He was going to get his first driver’s license. He asked to relay the following message to myself and another CCi employee, Leonard Smith. “Tell them that everything they taught me at the DMV call center really helped me a whole lot at the job I’m at now. I work at a recycling company called R2 Stewardship in Littleton, and we recycle old electronics and computers. Everything I learned there (DMV Call Center) helped me get this job and tell them that I really appreciate that. Let everyone know that I’m doing well, I just got a new apartment, I’ve got a good job and you guys need to keep your heads up, because everything is possible. You guys stay blessed and God bless you.”
• “George” – came into the system in 1987. He worked his way up in the panel shop to a clerk position and was released eighteen months ago. Below is a letter from George received by Chris Sanchez, AVCF CI Site Manager:
Good morning Chris,
Just a few words to bring you up-to-date, hard work have paid off. As you know, while I was in the Phoenix Center, I was able to find employment. Now that it has been 18 months since I started the job, I have been promoted to Customer Service Manager. This only proves that hard work is rewarded.
Being totally honest with people has also been rewarded as I have “earned” a circle of friends, and all are aware of my background. I live the “7-Habits” every day and thank you very much for drawing my attention to the program and encouraging me to enroll.
Several months ago I spoke with Lt. Diane Shauffler and was informed that after three years off of “paper,” I could return to AVCF and address the 7 Habits group. At the present time it has been approximately 18 months since my final discharge. August will mark two years since I left AVCF for the Phoenix Center.
Chris, I am proud of my accomplishments. As I mentioned in previous emails and
telephone calls, you, panel shop staff and the AVCF programs, especially the 7 Habits program, gave me the tools to compete and live in the “free world”. I will be eternally grateful for all assistance.
Please share my message with all, so they know they have helped an old man
readjust to society, successfully. Thank you and I remain,
The following letter was received for the CCi Canine Companion Program:
Hi Ms. Stevens (CCi Canine Companion Program Manager)
I started working for an outfit that installs public utilities, water, sewer and gas lines. I started out as a laborer at 10 dollars an hour. That was nearly 18 months ago. I am now a crew leader and recently passed my CDL test.
Along with all of the other hats I wear for the company, I am also a truck driver and heavy equipment operator. I am very blessed. Ms. Stevens, you cannot imagine how much life is so di
fferent for me now and I attribute a lot of my success to the CCi Canine Companion
Program. What I’ve learned since I first started training dogs and teaching others how to train dogs by far exceeds what they have learned from me. I’ve learned that when I extend love, I have more capacity to give it. I have also learned to be more aware of feelings of others. I’ve learned that when I let the boundaries of who I think I am dissolve into some of the dogs I’ve worked with, I am happier and more fulfilled because I recognize that we are truly connected. This has taught me to do the same for the people in my life. When I allow my own edges to blur into theirs, we are one. And when we are one, I feel nothing but kindness, compassion, and love for others who are really just extensions of me. I may never be able to truly express in words how much working with dogs has changed my life. I can only show through my actions, from this point in my life until my last breath, how this has truly been “a life changing experience” and how I will never be the same person I have been ashamed of being in the past.