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

Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP) recently held its fifth annual Junior Corrections Academy. 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.

On July 16, 44 participants, ranging in age from 8 to 15 years old, started a week-long junior academy where they received instruction on a wide range of topics which included: 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 day one of the academy, Fire Captain R. Makemson arranged to have a Reach Medical Air Services helicopter fly into the institution. The cadets were able to climb on board the chopper while the pilot gave a description of all the systems on board. This was one of the highlights of the week. The academy concluded on Friday, July 20, 2018, with a graduation ceremony with the parents and family and included the presentation of certificates and a barbecue lunch for all who participated.

The Junior Academy was the vision of Warden Joe A. Lizarraga. The Junior Academy was organized by IST Lieutenant 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.

Many of the children during the event were talking about how they can’t wait for next year’s academy. New ideas are already in the works on how MCSP can improve and expand the Junior Academy for next year. One highlight of the academy was weapons qualifications at the range with paint ball guns.

“The youth are the leaders of tomorrow, so as a Mule Creek State Prison family one of our top priorities is making sure our youth is able to reach their highest dreams,” said Warden Lizarraga.

Every year some of the previous year’s cadets return as Junior Company Commanders to inspire the current attending cadets. They are a tremendous help assisting the instructors with day to day operations of the academy and well received by all the cadets.