Dozens of Inmates Recognized at Luncheon
Fifty inmates attended a luncheon on August 24 where they were recognized for their educational, professional, and personal achievements.
Councilmember Sarah Bagley was the guest speaker and told the honorees that she was impressed and inspired by their work and efforts to learn new skills. She regularly sends letters of congratulations to inmates who have similar accomplishments. She also introduced Roberto G., a returned citizen and local businessman who shared his own experiences to encourage attendees to focus on what can be accomplished when they return to the community.
During the luncheon, the following instructors and program coordinators recognized individuals for their participation and achievements in specific areas.
Jane Hess Collins of Heard announced the finalists in the annual writing contest. Luis Peniche Garces won first place in the non-fiction category and Ali A. won first place in the poetry category. The winner of the fiction category and other finalists asked not to be publicly identified.
Education coordinator Krista Sofonia announced that Helber Sandoval and 12 other inmates, including several who have been released, had passed their General Educational Development (GED) examinations since the beginning of the year.
Master Deputy Todd Stubblefield congratulated those who had earned professional certifications in traffic flagging, like Francisco Burgos, and their OSHA-10 General Industry Safety and Health cards, including Jann Aponte Rivera and Wayne Ward who earned both.
Elizabeth Jones Valderrama of Offender Aid & Restoration (OAR) recognized those who had successfully completed the conflict resolution program, including Bobby Smith, Jr.
Robert Kinzer of the Society for Financial Education & Professional Development congratulated those who successfully completed his course in financial fitness, including Helber Sandoval and Bobby Smith, Jr.
Dr. Sandra Hill of the Face2Face Worship Center acknowledged those who successfully completed an anger management course, including Wilson Vasquez-Baten and Bobby Smith, Jr.
In his closing remarks, Sheriff Sean Casey congratulated all who were recognized and reassured them that even though they are going to face challenges, their efforts in these programs show that they can make positive changes and personal improvements. He told them that their work also meant a lot to others – to him, to staff and to other inmates – and that they should give themselves a round of applause because they deserve it. He also thanked the Inmate Services team for coordinating these programs as well as the celebration lunch.
The Sheriff’s Office offers inmates many programs to help them rebuild their lives, their families, and their communities. Educational, workforce preparedness, and personal improvement programs can inmates acquire skills and change behaviors that will enable them to live more productively upon their release.