By Lt. Greg Crowe, AA/PIO
High Desert State Prison
High Desert State Prison (HDSP) recorded the first two graduates from Short Term Restricted Housing (STRH).
They were recognized for their hard work and educational achievements by successfully graduating from the Transitions Program last year.
The Transitions Program equips offenders with effective tools such as employment readiness, job exploration, and money management. Additional resources, which encourage introspective PR-social skills, help participants overcome negative stereotypes and obstacles as they prepare for successful reentry into society upon their release from prison.
Each Transitions Graduate is required to complete 18 coursework modules, a professional cover-letter and resume, a thorough mock interview, and also pass the final exam.
Warden M. Eliot Spearman presented the participants with their graduation certificates. He also engaged the graduates by allowing them to demonstrate their newly-learned interview skills as they became the mock panel and asked the warden well-constructed interview questions.
The graduation ceremony was a positive team effort between the warden, Mountain View Adult School’s principal, the Transitions Program teacher, associate warden, captain, lieutenant and a correctional officer who was a guest speaker in the class.
The transitions Instructor spoke highly of the graduates and how they far exceeded her expectations as a teacher and how they also impacted her career positively. Not only did the students work hard to meet all of the graduation requirements, they also demonstrated full engagement with respectful and collaborative participation throughout all classes in individual, back-to-back holding cells in the mix of general population and sensitive needs yard participants.
Although the students could not see one another face to face during class time, they worked diligently to demonstrate outstanding collaborative communication and active listening skills between one another.
At the graduation ceremony, one of the graduates proudly announced that he had received contact from one of their fellow students, who paroled before the program’s completion date, and how he had already applied the coursework content and landed a good job.
In addition, the two graduates demonstrated their ongoing commitment to positive change by requesting additional supplemental coursework that they are continuing to work on.
Providing Transitional Programming in STRH is a positive team effort at HDSP for not only the students, but also for the staff.