One-hundred children took part in the first Junior Academy held at Ironwood State Prison.

One-hundred children took part in the first Junior Academy held at Ironwood State Prison.

By Lt. Kelli Madsen, AA/Public Information Officer
Ironwood State Prison

Bringing a son or daughter to work at a prison can prove challenging, so one warden decided to bring the prison to the children.

Ironwood State Prison (ISP) recently hosted its first Junior Academy. In the past it has been extremely difficult for most staff to participate in the annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work day because they work within the secure perimeter. This year, ISP Warden Neil McDowell decided to add activities for the children to demonstrate what some of their parents may have to do on a daily basis in order to preserve the safety and security of the institution.

The events for the day included a presentation by ISP Investigative Services Unit, where the “junior cadets” even got to meet Yeager, a CDCR K-9 handled by ISU Officer G. Madrigal. As safety is the priority, ISP had two nurses available at all times and the children were also given an hour instruction on first aid and CPR.

They were also given some basic alarm response and baton training, complete with someone in a padded suit.

CDCR K-9 Yeager was a hit with the kids.

CDCR K-9 Yeager was a hit with the kids.

Each “junior cadet” was given a picture ID card with some of their personal information and their thumb print on it. The ID card was issued to them, not only as a souvenir, but so they could go on a tour of one of the facilities. After lunch, the children were broken up into groups and taken inside the secure perimeter, where they were able to go on to the yard, inside the culinary, in a cell block, and even step inside a cell.

The day finished with a presentation from the ISP/Chuckawalla Valley SP Crisis Response Team (CRT). This included a display of the weapons and other tactical gear utilized by CRT and a demonstration of a simulated car chase. During the chase, CRT team members extracted the “suspects” from a vehicle by utilizing flash grenades.

Each junior cadet was issued a certificate of completion at the end of the day.

“This event was a huge success and I am very grateful to all the staff members that made this possible including IST, ISU, medical, food services and CRT,” said Warden McDowell. “None of this could have happened without the Employees’ Association and CCPOA. We will definitely be doing this again next year.”

ISP Employees’ Association assisted with purchasing breakfast and an ISP junior academy t-shirt for the junior cadets. ISP CCPOA assisted with purchasing lunch and beverages for all of the participants.