Children shown the gamut of Avenal operations
By Lt. Mike Tuntakit, AA/Public Information Officer
Avenal State Prison
Avenal State Prison (ASP) provided a wide and varied experience recently for the children of employees on Kids’ Day.
The children started the day with the Investigative Services Unit (ISU) giving them a look at the many tools ISU uses for contraband interdiction. They were given instruction on how to do fingerprinting and were all able to dust their own fingerprints. ISU also demonstrated how to use night-vision goggles.
Next the children were given an extensive tour of the outlying prison grounds which included going to the Support Warehouse where they were shown what items inmates can purchase through the canteen. The kids were also shown what the inmate bunks look like and what clothing items are given to the inmates.
While at the Warehouse, the K-9 team conducted a demonstration of the dog’s keen sense of smell as it searched and discovered tobacco and a cell phone hidden by a staff person for the purpose of the demonstration.
At the institutional Firehouse, children were able to try on a set of jumpers and get on the fire engines. The Firehouse inmates also conducted a demonstration of how they don their jumpers in less than 2 seconds.
For lunch, California Correctional Peace Officers (CCPOA) staff served barbecued hot dogs and snacks donated by ASP’s Employee Action Committee.
Afterward, the In Service Training (IST) team provided inert pepper spray canisters (water) and a soft baton giving the children an opportunity to take two fighting inmates (Officers in Redman suits) into custody and place them in handcuffs.
The Crisis Response Team (CRT) demonstrated specialized weapons used and a mock hostage situation was setup. The CRT conducted a hostage rescue, saving the hostage and capturing the suspect.
The Education Department provided products from the Braille Program, giving each child a copy of their name written in Braille. The Lock Shop also provided each with a chit bearing their name.
Gift cards which were donated by CCPOA/Chicano Correctional Workers Association (CCWA) along with four bikes donated by Pleasant Valley State Prison, which were given away as prizes. It was a successful turnout with nearly 60 kids in attendance.
At the end of the day, the children went to the Administrative Building and had their photos taken at the Warden’s desk as they served as “Warden for the day.”