Oregon Corrections Enterprises (OCE) Administrator Ken Jeske recently brought a tree into the OCE Administration office for staff to enjoy. When the office AIC worker Michael arrived for work, the two put up the tree and had quite the conversation. Ken asked Michael how long it had been since he put up and decorated a tree. We hope you enjoy his story:
“My name is Michael Buell and I am currently an AIC at Santiam Correctional Institution (SCI). Having the opportunity to work for OCE has been a tremendous blessing. It gives me a sense of normalcy and purpose everyday which is extremely important to me. For example… When I came into work the other day, I noticed they had brought in this Christmas tree that you see in the picture. They showed me where the decorations were and asked if I wanted to set it up and decorate it. After struggling with burnt out strands of lights for a couple hours I finally got it all done, and the finished product is what you see here.
It occurred to me while I was decorating the tree, that the last time I had done something like this was over three years ago with my two daughters and it definitely brought back a lot of memories for me. Moments like that are special and you cannot put a price on them.
This article was written by Sergeant Shawna Bronson, who has worked for the Oregon Department of Corrections for 23 years. The following has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Adult in Custody Pedro Perez came from a crime-ridden family, multi-generational at that. At a young age, he learned how to handle drugs and witnessed violence perpetrated by his own mother. Criminal ways and gangbanging were the norm. Perez’s father was in prison and his mother supported her family the only way she knew how—selling drugs and invading homes. A criminal mentality was instilled in Perez early in life, and at the age of 13 he found himself sentenced to 4-5 years of juvenile detention with an aggravated assault conviction. Perez explained he had so much anger and rage that he turned to gang activity as an unhealthy outlet for these emotions.
This article was written by Tonya Gushard, a Public Information Officer and employee at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, Oregon. It has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Behind these walls we are one community. OUR community. The community we call the Oregon State Penitentiary.
Our community consists of over 350 employees, over 2,000 adults in our care and custody (AICs), and hundreds of volunteers and contractors. The Oregon Department of Corrections’ mission is to hold offenders accountable for their actions and reduce the risk of future criminal behavior, but it is our passion to create a safe and healthy environment, with the responsibility of creating better neighbors where positive and pro-social change occurs. A place where people will become healthy, productive, and contributing members of society.
The first Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution (EOCI) family picnic of the year was held on the sunny Saturday of June 22nd. Families gathered on the West yard and in Multi for the daylong event. The day was a total success, with 138 participating AICs and 348 visitors attending!
Over the weekend, the Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI) minimum facility hosted a Father’s Day event where adults in custody (AICs) could wear regular clothes while celebrating the day with friends and family. Snake River had five AICs and fifteen visitors participate in the event, which was combined with a luncheon.