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.
Santiam Correctional Institution (SCI) once again celebrated a successful family Christmas event on the evening of December 12, 2019. Nearly 40 adults in custody (AICs) were able to participate in the event this year, and 65 children joined in the fun with their chaperones bringing the total number of participants up to 137!
2017, Santiam Correctional Institution (SCI) committed to build a partnership
with AFSP in an effort to educate and assist with funding and research to
reduce suicide in correctional settings. The American
Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has been a leader in research and
reduction of Suicide in the United States since 1987. Thanks to
this partnership, SCI was the first correctional facility in the nation to host
such a suicide prevention walk!
Sixteen adults in custody at Santiam Correctional Institution (SCI) received their GED degrees today as part of the facility’s winter graduation commencement ceremony. The GED program is made possible through a partnership with Chemeketa Community College’s Corrections Education department.
Jordan Bermingham, Director of Corrections Education at Chemeketa, spoke to the graduates, along with Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) facilitators, tutors, and students. Chemeketa enrolls between 200 and 350 students in English as a Second Language (ESL), Adult Basic Education (ABE), and the GED programs – not only at SCI but also at the Oregon State Penitentiary (OSP), and Oregon State Correctional Institution (OSCI).
Chemeketa provides additional education opportunities to around 125 adults in custody. The programs include an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer Degree, an Automatic Technology degree, and a CAD certification.
This incredible opportunity gives adults in custody the opportunity to teach as well as learn! The GED program is taught by inmate tutors and instruction is provided in both one-on-one settings and in groups, with a class size average of 15 students. Education Coordinators work with the tutors to develop curriculum.