Twenty-five cadets with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s Cadet Lawman Academy toured Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft on Wednesday.
The cadets, consisting of female junior and senior high schoolers interested in a career in law enforcement, learned about life behind bars, educational programs and treatment services Oklahoma Department of Corrections inmates receive.
The tour started at the Chapel and proceeded to Dorm 1, Dorm 3, RTP, Food Service, Programs, Procom and back to the Chapel.
The tour group was led by Warden Sharon L. McCoy and the following Correctional Staff members:
- Gregory P. Breslin, Deputy Warden
- Bryan Cox, Acting Chief of Security
- Sandra Gandy, Unit Manager (H.W.R.)
- Vanessa Witherspoon, Unit Manager (RTP Program Coordinator)
- Tres Sanders, Lieutenant (2-10 Shift Supervisor)
- Robin Catcher, Lieutenant
The girls learned all about ODOC’s partnership with community leaders such as the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which funds the Helping Women Recover (H.W.R.) Program at the prison, a minimum-security women’s facility that’s home to nearly 1,000 inmates.
The cadets toured the prison’s education department, learning about the courses inmates can take to prepare them for reentry. They also visited Employment Services, which provides inmates on-the-job training through ODOC’s partnership with a telemarketing company.
They also learned about the prison’s Regimented Treatment Program (RTP) and the role it plays in providing residential inpatient substance abuse treatment. A few inmates told their stories of participating in the program, and how it gives them the chance to reunite with family members, in addition to develop problem solving skills and healthier lifestyles. The cadets’ visit also took them to Dorm 3, one of EWCC’s General Population Housing units.
A debriefing took place later at the facility’s chapel, and the girls got the chance to ask questions of staff and select inmates. The cadets and their accompanying staff thanked EWCC staff for their knowledge and insight, and stated they’d like to come back in the future.
Warden McCoy encouraged the cadets to “follow their dreams” and shared her journey in corrections. The tour participants thanked Warden McCoy for hosting the tour and commented on how beautiful and clean the facility is, and also the warm welcome they received from EWCC staff.
The girls’ male counterparts with the Cadet Lawman Academy also toured an ODOC facility on Wednesday. They visited Jess Dunn Correctional Center, a minimum security for men near Eddie Warrior Correctional Center.
Images from the visit are below: