By Lt. Angelo Gonzalez, AA/PIO
Mule Creek State Prison

Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP) recently held its fourth annual Junior Corrections Academy on the grounds of the prison and the former Preston Youth Correctional Facility. The Junior Academy was designed to give the children of MCSP employees a chance to learn more about the job their parents do every day and to expose them to the field of corrections law enforcement.

At the end of June, 48 participants, ranging in age from 8 to 15, started a week-long junior academy where they received instruction on a wide range of topics including fire suppression, social media security, firearms familiarization, basic first aid, crime scene preservation, contraband and drug interdiction, and crisis response team weapons and tactics. Along with educational courses, the cadets also participated in physical training each morning with emphasis on both fitness and teamwork.

On the first day of the academy, Fire Captain, R. Makemson arranged to have two helicopters fly into the institution, one from Reach Medical Air Services and one from California Highway Patrol.

The cadets were able to climb on board the choppers while the pilot gave a description of all the systems on board. This was one of the highlights of the week.  The academy ended with a graduation ceremony including the presentation of certificates and a barbecue for all who participated.

The Junior Academy was the vision of Warden Joe A. Lizarraga. The Junior Academy was organized by IST Lt. Tim Cassesi and the teachings included the expertise of various staff, volunteers and instructors. These collaborative efforts created a fun, informative and memorable week for the children and staff involved.

“The best part was at the end of the week. The kids participating were approaching me, thanking me and were not able to stop talking about the great time they had,” said Warden Lizarraga.

One highlight of the academy was weapons qualifications at the range with paint ball guns.

Many of the children and families could be heard during the event talking about how they can’t wait for next year’s academy. Ideas are already being shared on how MCSP can improve and expand the Junior Academy for next year.

“Our youth are our future, so as a Mule Creek State Prison family we must do everything possible to raise them well.  It is my priority to continue to incorporate family into our vision and core values, and to give back to our staff and our community,” said Warden Lizarraga.