ALVA, Okla. – The program at Bill Johnson Correctional Center is unlike any other within the Department of Corrections. And Oklahoma’s judiciary community has come to tour the prison in Alva to learn about regimented treatment -- more importantly to see the value of sentencing options for low risk and first time offenders. Warden Becky Guffy said, “If your main treatment is not drug and alcohol, we will put you in other classes and treat the need.”
Every inmate sentenced to Bill Johnson leaves with a minimum high school diploma. These men can also take CareerTech classes to learn a valuable trade like carpentry and masonry. Inmate, Inmate Tyrese Norah said, “It just gives you skills for the real world so you can get a job instead of going and selling drugs, so it’s something new that I’m learning.”
Staff also model positive behavior in this paramilitary environment. According to Sgt. Christian Moncivais, “We teach them how to address staff, how to respect themselves. We also teach them teamwork drills. Whether they believe it or not, we emphasize core values, high structure – and we teach that to them everyday.”
This unique program also offers evidence based drug and alcohol treatment from qualified staff to promote recovery. Treatment Director Trent Spade said, “Not a lot of people know what we do or have heard about what we do. But it’s important because we have some significant accomplishments.”
There is confidence, as more judges and District Attorneys see the value of alternative sentencing, more offenders will discover the motivation and commitment to stay on the right path.