The Art of Communication is a program offered to qualifying adults in custody (AICs) at a number of Oregon Department of Corrections’ institutions across the state. Developed by Chaplain Trime Persinger at Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI), the course teaches AICs how to build positive relationships and manage conflict situations through everyday conversations. This post is part of a series which aims to share the stories of AICs who have been impacted by the program.
Below, AIC Yohannes Tesfay explains how the program has changed his mindset. AIC Tesfay shared his experience with Trime Persinger, who wrote it down as follows:
The Sagebrush in Prisons Project (SPP) is a unique collaboration among the Oregon Department of Correction, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Institute for Applied Ecology (IAE). The goal of the project is to engage incarcerated men and women in habitat restoration and ecological science.
Warner Creek Correctional Facility (WCCF) became the first Oregon Department of Corrections facility to open a Transitional Community Unit (TCU).
The TCU will provide a more normalized environment due to living in a retrofitted housing unit with less of a population than other units for the adults in custody (AIC). Other privileges include are more storage, area rugs in the bunk areas, dividers, and partitions between the bunk areas, vending machines, washers, dryers, and toaster ovens.
South Fork Forest Camp (SFFC) recently partnered with the Joys of Living Assistance Dogs (JLAD), a non-profit organization dedicated to training and raising service dogs. Their mission is to provide skilled, devoted service dogs to support and assist persons living with disabilities – creating cohesive teams focused on building a life of greater freedom and independence. The adults in custody (AICs) train them, and then the dogs are placed with individuals that need them.
Last week, SFFC received their first set of eight puppies who will be rotated through SFFC four at a time. These dedicated AICs at SFFC put their hearts and souls into these dogs, and clearly the dogs do wonders for these individuals too. Below are testimonials from AICs talking about how the program has, and will, impact their lives.
“I have been incarcerated for 10 years. During my time of incarceration, I have managed to accomplish many programs and developed skills to use in the workforce.
I have worked in maintenance for 2 years, then I worked in the welding shop for 3 years, and currently I work in the electrical shop for the past 5 years. I am also a Fitness/Yoga Instructor for the mental health AICs. For 3 years, I have been a mentor for other AICs to inspire them to take the road less traveled.
This October, I successfully completed the Electrical Apprenticeship Program. I am now a licensed Journeyman Electrician. With the electrical license and skills, I have developed, I will be financially stable with a career that is in high demand.
I am proud of my accomplishments and grateful for the support of my family, friends, and the staff here at Two Rivers Correctional Institution for contributing in guiding me through this journey of learning and growing into the fullness of my potential.”
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, also known as AFSP, provides awareness on suicide prevention and mental health conditions. This platform brings friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers together over all 50 states. It’s a program that allows individuals to connect with others that may have been affected by suicide.
This article was written by the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution’s (EOCI) Supervising Executive Assistant, Chris Scarr. Chris received a call from a former adult in custody (AIC), Brent Leathers. Mr. Leathers graciously offered to donate books to the EOCI’s library. Continue reading about how Chris and Mr. Leathers worked together on the logistics and the excitement that followed, and get an update on Mr. Leathers.
In early June 2022, I received a call from former AIC Brent Leathers. Mr. Leathers informed me he is a member of the Library of America (LOA), a non-profit organization that preserves our nation’s literary heritage. He stated he had been given the opportunity to donate 50 books from LOA and would like to contribute them to the library at EOCI. A value of over $1100. He explained he enjoys reading, and it was reading books more than anything that helped him through his incarceration. He expressed he wanted to give back and hoped others would enjoy the same benefit from reading.
Here is a little history about the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution (EOCI) Joys of Living Assistance Dogs (JLAD) Service dog Program. EOCI started the program in 2016, after almost a year of planning. Approximately 70 percent of the dogs graduate from the program, which is above the national average. The training program started with 16 puppies and has expanded to 32 dogs. Only 16 dogs are trained at any given time, as the dogs are rotated in and out every week.
Oregon Department of Corrections’ institutions across the state. Developed by Chaplain Trime Persinger at Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI), the course teaches AICs how to build positive relationships and manage conflict situations through everyday conversations. This post is part of a series which aims to share the stories of AICs who have been impacted by the program.
Below, AIC Eliseo Salinas uses the tools he learned in the program to demonstrate his patience and understanding. AIC Salinas shared his experience with Trime Persinger, who wrote it down as follows:
Mission 22 published a challenge on social media asking for support through a fundraiser for their foundation. Their foundation’s focus is to provide various personalized resources to help Veterans and their families to thrive. Lt. Shelby Brown’s best friend, a veteran of the war in Iraq, is now a representative of the foundation and works at the branch in Bend. Lt. Brown is pursuing an opportunity to become an ambassador for the foundation.
Through the foundation’s Facebook page, there was a promotion for a fitness challenge to help bring awareness to the struggles of Veterans and their families and raise money for their foundation. The challenge was to have supporters donate money or challenge themselves to complete 2,200 push-ups to show their support of veterans lost or struggling, and the families affected by either, including the struggle to reacclimate to the home environment after being on duty for so long. Lt. Brown knew right away, she wanted to participate in this challenge, to show support for her best friend.