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“This program has brought us a lot of healing, in that we are giving back to the community. We're giving to children.”
Tammy - CCCF Preemie Clothing Lead Worker
It’s about the journey…
Have you ever wondered what corrections industries is all about? Does what you know come only from movies and television shows? Well, here’s an inside look at the stories that shape what we really do, what drives us to make a difference. We want to offer you an opportunity to see our focus through a different lens – the lives that are changed, the positive effects of the important work we do here every day, and the ties and relationships we help to create to truly enhance the lives of Oregonians in our communities, in our schools, and in our prison system.
ANN MARIE POWERS
TRUSTED TESTER PROGRAM COMES TO COFFEE CREEK CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
News Release from Oregon Dept. of Corrections
In May, Oregon Correctional Enterprises (OCE) announced the successful startup of a new work program for incarcerated women at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF). Five women completed months of rigorous training and testing to become Trusted Testers certified by the Office of Accessibility Systems and Technology under the Department of Homeland Security. The graduation ceremony is July 26 at 10:30 a.m. at CCCF.
Through OCE’s partnership with Access2online, the company which operates the work and training program inside CCCF, these five women are now qualified to test websites (in an offline environment) for accessibility to the visually impaired. Their expertise joins the national effort to allow the visually impaired to benefit from the internet that has become an essential part of life in most of the world.
While the Access2online program is relatively new to the prison environment, it is already supporting successful transition from incarceration into Oregon communities. Upon release from prison, the first two participants in the program had jobs waiting for them with the Access2online corporate office. Ninety-five percent of the men and women incarcerated in Oregon’s prisons will ultimately release from Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) custody; plans to grow the Access2online program include training and employing additional women at CCCF as well as the addition of satellite programs at other Oregon institutions.
Those releasing from incarceration are discovering how essential the internet is for everyday life in the United States. Most job applications, information about public services, and even grocery orders can be processed online; but many adults in custody have never touched a computer, let alone surfed the web. While American prisons do not allow those in our care to have unfettered access to the internet, most states, including Oregon, have developed offline environments or secure, direct portals to specific sites which allow for education, training, and production. Industry-recognized certifications are difficult for those in custody to obtain because most testing is done online, but the recent partnership with DOC, OCE, Access2online, and the Department of Homeland Security is evidence that difficult does not mean impossible.
Oregon Corrections Enterprises (OCE) is a semi-independent, self-funded state agency which operates under the Director of Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC). Created by statute in 1999 to help DOC meet its constitutional mandate to engage adults in custody (AICs) in meaningful work and training opportunities, OCE currently operates various production and service programs in 10 DOC facilities. While primarily teaching work skills to prepare over 1300 AICs for successful re-entry into Oregon communities, OCE’s programs also keep the AICs engaged in activity, thus reducing idleness that can lead to types of behavior which affect the safety and security of the institutions.
ncia selects oce for performance excellence award
"Together, we are changing lives, one opportunity at a time.”
The National Correctional Industries Association (NCIA) is an international nonprofit professional association whose members represent federal, state, county, and international Correctional Industry agencies, as well as suppliers and partners in apprenticeship and work programs. The NCIA website states, “Every year, NCIA makes a special effort to acknowledge individuals whose extraordinary skill and leadership in their respective programs improve Correctional Industries as a whole.” These awards are presented in April at the Annual National Training Conference, where organizations come together to learn from each other and make connections which prove invaluable throughout the year. In each of the previous two years, a staff of Oregon Corrections Enterprises (OCE) has received an Honor Roll award: Barbara Cannard in 2016 and Kevin Thompson in 2017. In 2018, OCE was acknowledged once again as staff member Benjamin Noid received an Honor Roll award.
Last summer, NCIA announced a new award category which would acknowledge an agency as a whole. Called the Performance Excellence of the Year Award, the intent was to honor an agency who had excelled over the last three years in at least two of NCIA’s ten listed best practices for Re-entry-Focused Performance Excellence:
• Incorporate Strategic Planning
• Maintain Financial Sustainability
• Recruit, Develop and Retain Staff
• Engage Stakeholders
• Replicate Private Industry Environment
• Implement Certificate Based Soft Skills Training
• Provide Certified Technical Skills Training
• Maximize Offender Job Opportunities
• Create a Culture of Offender Employment Readiness and Retention
• Provide Post Release Employment Services
Able to show achievement or progress in eight of the ten best practices, OCE was declared the recipient of the first-ever NCIA Performance Excellence of the Year Award. OCE Administrator Ken Jeske accepted the 2018 award on behalf of all of the employees of OCE, its public and private partners, and the adults in custody participating in OCE programs. He concluded his acceptance speech with these words:
“Thank you for acknowledging OCE’s work over the last three years. None of us can do this great work by ourselves. To the adults in custody in our programs and the staff of Oregon Corrections Enterprises and the Oregon Department of Corrections, the OCE Advisory Council, the staff of Mass Ingenuity, and the staff and members of NCIA, I say this award belongs to all of us. Together, we are changing lives, one opportunity at a time.”
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Showcasing Success - aNN MARIE POWERS
“Don’t expect too much or settle for too little...and remember: this too shall pass – this too I can survive."
Anne Marie’s story starts out like many. She graduated from high school, obtained an associate degree, married, and had two children. She worked a variety of jobs. She divorced and remarried. Raised to be family and budget oriented, she was an independent soul who did not ask for help – especially when she needed it most. The result was a choice that resulted in a
As Anne Marie entered her first housing assignment at DOC, she thought she would never have a real life again. She couldn’t forgive herself for her poor choices. Even so, having developed a strong work ethic early in life, she immediately started working in whatever work assignments were available. She spent time in the kitchen, in the eyeglass recycling program, and in the religious services programs offered by volunteers. Here, she developed her own personal mantra: this too shall pass – this too I can survive.
Six months later, she soon began to work in an OCE contact center and found her future career. Here was a place she could help others. She would work successfully in this assignment for the next 14 years.
Three months before her scheduled release, Anne Marie signed up for every release class DOC had to offer. Supportive of her efforts, OCE adjusted her work schedule to accommodate her class schedule. One of the classes talked about housing. While she had no plan, her faith helped her keep a positive attitude. Days later, she was informed that contacts through religious services were providing her temporary housing upon release until she could afford her own.
Without the struggle of finding housing, Anne Marie’s focus turned to employment. As many former AICs do, she began working for a temporary staffing agency where she performed a variety of jobs from injection molding to floral arranging.
Where is Anne Marie now? She says she is living in a dream. Just two years after release, she is married, buying a house (reducing her commute time by two-thirds), and working in trial service status in a full-time job with great benefits. She credits her success to her supportive family, religious services, and her assignment with OCE.
What is her advice to current AICs? Don’t give up! Start planning at least two years before release. Make an outline you can modify. Don’t expect too much or settle for too little. Find a support system outside of prison to help with housing, clothing, transportation, etc. and remember this too shall pass – this too I can survive.
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Showcasing Success - GEORGE BRALEY
“I had to decide what kind of memory I wanted to leave for my kids. Would it be of a man with problems, constantly in and out of prison? No, it would not.”
George Braley and fiancé Yolanda Beyerlin
George started his path to prison early in life. Growing up with divorced parents who did not establish boundaries, he didn’t take life seriously or participate in what he calls a “manners education.” He completed high school and went on to attend a welding trade school, but he had already become involved with the wrong crowd. When he felt taken advantage of, he would retaliate. This resulted in several minor assaults, leading up to his eventual incarceration.
His first three months in DOC were spent in a minimum-custody facility, crowded with people and seemingly no opportunities. He became very depressed, unable to see how he could better himself. His counselor suggested he transfer to a different minimum facility with an OCE program where he could utilize his welding skills. Not knowing whether he would be accepted in the program, he weighed his options and asked for the transfer. He arrived at the new location where he found he would have to apply for the OCE program the same way he would apply for a job on the street: fill out an application.
While he waited to see if he would be selected for an interview, he enrolled in DOC programs he could immediately attend: AA, Al-Anon, and Celebrate Recovery. He also began attending religious services. He soon got the break for which he was searching. He was interviewed and selected for the OCE Machine Shop. He started off as a painter and immediately discovered working in the OCE program felt like having a real job. He was treated like anyone on the outside – with a few more boundaries.
While assigned to OCE, he took advantage of several opportunities. First, he enrolled in the jointly-run DOC/OCE BOLI Welding program. Second, he enrolled in the DOC Threshold program, where he learned to stop objectifying himself and let go of his criminal mindset. Next, he enrolled in the DOC Nonviolent Communication program. This was one of his favorite programs. It taught him that words are where violence starts. He developed interpersonal skills, such as empathy, listening, and a servant attitude. In all three programs, George dug deep inside himself, did the needed work, and was successful.
It was his personal development success, along with his welding skills, which led OCE staff to work with an employer in the community to give George a chance. The employer interviewed George at the Machine Shop, and when George released, he went to work the very next day. George has since moved on to a different employer, but stays in contact with the man who gave him a second chance. Because of his success, the employer stays in contact with OCE, looking for new referrals.
When asked what made George decide to change his life, he had this to say: “I had to decide what kind of memory I wanted to leave for my kids. Would it be of a man with problems, constantly in and out of prison? No, it would not. Someone once asked me what I wanted carved on my tombstone. I want it to read, ‘He was a good man, calm and caring.’”
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Showcasing Success - TREVOR WALRAVEN
Because he was so young when he entered the system, he wasn’t really starting over – he was simply starting.
Trevor became involved with drugs at an early age. By age 14, he committed a crime and was sentenced as an adult. He spent his first two years of incarceration in county juvenile facilities, followed by six months in county jail. He spent the next three years at an Oregon Youth Authority facility, where he studied and earned his high school diploma before transferring to DOC to finish his life sentence.
A little more than one year later, Trevor was housed at Oregon State Penitentiary and applied for an OCE assignment. He worked in the Laundry as a production worker before moving to the maintenance section to further develop some of his natural mechanical skills. He learned a lot from OCE staff and his AIC lead worker. Trevor knew he wanted a career and worked as many hours as possible to learn all he could, including maintenance time in the OCE Laundry, Furniture Factory, and Metal Shop. When his AIC mentor released, Trevor moved into the lead position and began mentoring other AICs. Later, he transferred into a clerk position where he tracked maintenance activities and parts inventories, along with various other duties.
Trevor felt support from several sources along the way. He had great family support throughout his sentence. Because he showed his intention to improve, OCE supported his learning by coaching, mentoring, and adjusting his schedule so he could attend college classes. While attending a DOC College Inside/Out class, he learned a phrase that altered his life: “Once you know, you owe.” Knowing what his actions had taken from people before his incarceration, he knew he had to start giving back.
He applied for a "Second Look" review hearing for juveniles convicted of Measure 11 crimes that takes place after half of the sentence has been served. Advocates at the hearing included OCE staff and DOC officers, as well as family. When the judge announced Trevor would be released in 45 days, he had to transition quickly for release. His post-prison supervision started with close supervision and an ankle bracelet. Because he was so young when he entered the system, he wasn’t really starting over – he was simply starting. Now he had to figure out how to be successful.
With connections through his family, he was hired to work for a staffing company, where he interviewed potential workers identified their skill sets. He started moving forward when life took a different turn. His original conviction was vacated, and Trevor was sent to county custody for 12 weeks, DOC Intake for two weeks, and OSP for three days. A new judge reviewed the Second Look ruling, Trevor’s parole officer advocated for him, and the early release was awarded again.
Life has been more challenging after his second release than after his first, but Trevor is not afraid of challenges. While he has secured a job with a long commute, he is still committed to giving back. He is often asked to share his story with others. He is working with DOC and the staffing company who gave him a chance to help connect them with AICs releasing to the company’s service area. Now that he knows the process, his goal is to help ease the transition of as many AICs as he can. Why? “Once you know, you owe.”
When OCE staff asked Trevor what OCE could do to improve people’s chances, Trevor asked OCE to inform staffing agencies about the types of workers being released and connect with AICs to tell them which staffing agencies to apply to. While OCE has previously connected with a staffing agency, OCE intends to expand its efforts to reach more people.
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CHANGING PERCEPTIONS - NICU PREEMIE OUTFITS (OCEANA)
Coffee Creek Correctional Facility Adults in Custody find new purpose in creating outfits for preemie babies.
Processing their hospital linen since 2009, Oregon Corrections Enterprises (OCE) and Salem Health have developed a true partnership. In 2016, the hospital reached out to OCE to help fill a need.
Salem Health’s purchasing unit was unable to locate appropriate hospital clothing for preemie babies assigned to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. NICU Nurses would go to local area stores and purchase the smallest clothing available. The clothing would then be altered to accommodate the tubes and wires assisting their tiny patients. Once the clothing was altered, it could not withstand repeated washings.
Salem Health’s Linen Services Supervisor knew OCE had sewing programs and asked if making hospital clothing for preemies was a possibility. The project was routed to the OCE Production Sewing Program at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF). Says Dave Conway, OCE General Manager – CCCF, “OCE is all about helping people overcome challenges. How could we say no?”
Dave purchased the smallest clothing he could find and disassembled it. Then he asked the hospital NICU Nurse Manager what alterations were needed. With that information, the adults in custody (AICs) assigned to the program went to work. They asked Dave for a generic picture of a preemie baby to post on the wall as a reminder of the purpose of the clothing.
Dave’s next task was finding the appropriate fabric and supplies to be used on newborns. It was more difficult than anticipated. OCE prefers to purchase from Oregon vendors, but Oregon does not have a fabric mill supplying the type of fabric needed. Eventually, Dave located a vendor in Pennsylvania who offered a solution.
Using old manila folders, the crew began to create patterns. They reduced the patterns, but struggled to find the correct sizing. Dave then bought a doll which was the approximate size of the average preemie newborn. Now the crew could use a model to test their patterns. When asked if they could name the doll, Dave told the crew the name had to include the letters “OCE.” Oceana became the official model of the new NICU clothing line.
Various drafts of the final product were sent to and from the hospital where NICU nurses evaluated and made suggestions. “Can you move this snap over one-half inch?” “Can you shorten this gown two inches?” The final versions were tested by the hospital for thirty days. Because the garments were specifically designed for NICU use and did not have to be altered, they showed no signs of tattering, despite multiple washings.
Now, two years after the project first began, OCE delivered its initial order of NICU clothing to the hospital. Salem Health arranged for press coverage of the official first delivery. The article, showing a picture of preemie twins wearing the new OCE outfits, was written by Capi Lynn, News Columnist for the Statesman Journal, and appeared on the front page on Christmas Eve Day. The story went viral. The postings led to more requests for articles or feature stories from local television news stations and national websites. Hospitals and manufacturers around the country contacted OCE, wanting to know how to either purchase the product or partner with OCE.
Says the OCE Communications Manager, Barbara Cannard, “Developing a true partnership takes dedication from both sides and can wield amazing results. It is wonderful that the partnership between Salem Health and OCE has led to a solution to an unspoken national need!”
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A JOINT VENTURE
The beginning of 2017 marked the start of a new joint venture for Oregon Corrections Enterprises (OCE) and the University of Oregon (UO). Although OCE had been designing and producing quality furnishings for Oregon’s schools systems and other Oregon state agencies for years, OCE wanted to take a look at updating the designs of some of its current residence hall furnishings. Graduate students and faculty at the University of Oregon Product Design Department within the School of Art and Design agreed to participate in OCE’s idea to design new furnishings that meet the current needs of life in dormitory housing. This design studio project was a joint venture between OCE and UO students collaborating to design a modern, cohesive and functional look that could stand up to the heavy use of college/school life. The project also introduced students to OCE, one of the many reentry preparation efforts by Oregon Department of Corrections. Here is our journey together. Click the PDF icon to view the entire story!
UO Associate Professor John Arndt and the Product Design students take advantage of the opportunity to discuss Computer Aided Drafting and Design with adults in custody.
UO Product Design Studio students and faculty.
An expert in furniture fabrication, this AIC prepares a subassembly for the finish room.
Fresh off the line, the reimagined residence hall furniture has become a reality. Each piece is designed with accessible floor space for storage and the feeling of a larger room. The bed shown is the ICFF model, lowered to twenty inches.
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Showcasing Success - Diana Bunch
“Make sure you don’t repeat your mistake or let anyone else make the same mistake. Never give up!”
Before prison, Diana had what most would call a successful life, but when her stepdad passed away right after she finished high school, she started using alcohol as a coping mechanism. The behavior continued during college and her career, eventually spiraling into excessive drinking and other reckless behaviors. Her choices resulted in a prison sentence from a vehicular accident which injured a person. She had effectively eliminated everything she had going for her at the time, and, for the first two years of her incarceration, she couldn’t accept that incarceration was actually the best thing that could have happened to her at the time.
Eventually, Diana interviewed for the OCE Document Scanning program. For the first few months, she was quiet and bitter. Then she met another participant who became a great friend and mentor. With the help of her new friend and the OCE staff, Diana quit hating life and began to see OCE as a mental escape from prison life. She noticed correctional officers treating her differently. Her friend said, “If you can make it in OCE, you earn more respect.” Diana’s sense of self-worth began to improve. In her off time, she participated in the DOC program Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG). It was an intense six-month program during which she finally recognized the thinking patterns which led her to prison, and she vowed to change.
Diana transferred to the DOC Hair Design program, surprised to discover she enjoyed the work. Her artistic side came forth, and the soft skills she learned with OCE became customer service skills. After completing the two-year Hair Design program and returning to the OCE Scanning program for one year, she transferred to the minimum facility for six months of transition programming. During that time, staff from a local Perfect Look Hair Salon came to the facility and interviewed Diana. All her hard work over the previous six years paid off: she had a job the day she released. Now the third top revenue producer at the salon, she recently accepted an offer of an additional part-time job from the manager of the clothing store next door who appreciated Diana’s customer service skills and general presence.
Diana credits her success after release to four things: her family support during and after her incarceration; the skills and self-worth she developed in DOC and OCE programs; the support of the DOC and OCE staff; and the support of her current coworkers who know her story and encourage her to continue to succeed. What is Diana’s definition of success? “Success is stopping at any moment of the day and possessing a great amount of pride, knowing I am accomplishing things, being happy, and living each day better than the one before.” What advice does she have to those still in custody? “Know that ‘I’m sorry’ doesn’t cut it. Ask yourself what you can do to make a difference. Make sure you don’t repeat your mistake or let anyone else make the same mistake. Never give up!”
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Showcasing Success - Joe Narkin
“Success is being the most helpful person you can be to humanity and the people in your life”
He grew up in a home where one parent was abusive and the other the epitome of love. He’s not sure why he chose to follow one over the other. His downward spiral of self-hatred culminated in a failed relationship, a bank robbery, and an attempted suicide-by-cop. The police officer realized the truth of the situation: Joe was crying out for help, even though he didn’t realize it at the time. Joe says it was the first time he became aware of what he called “the beauty of humanity.”
Joe struggled the first two years of his prison sentence, trying to figure out who he was now that his living arrangements had drastically changed. Learning meditation techniques during a period spent in segregation, Joe finally found the peace he needed and made the life-altering decision never to hurt another human being again. His newfound peace led to better behavior in prison. Better behavior led to a unique training opportunity: the OCE Contact Center. In this program, he experienced a positive work environment, learned to work as part of a team, found self-expression, and developed the skills necessary to interact with the public in a professional manner. He participated in the program for five years, missing only one day due to illness.
The manager of the customer to which Joe's team was assigned came into the prison often and treated everyone as if they were valued employees. As Joe’s skills expanded into marketing, the manager offered Joe a job to step into the moment he released from custody.
Continually exceeding expectations, Joe now lives on the east coast, is the Director of Business Development, and is on the path to become Vice-President of Operations. He learned sign language while in prison and continues to volunteer in his local community, signing for those in hospitals and for deaf children who want to talk to Santa. Joe enjoys helping his company prosper and employees succeed both personally and professionally. But that is not the only way he defines success. “Success is being the most helpful person you can be to humanity and the people in your life, being able to sleep at night without a knot in your stomach, and living a more genuine existence. It’s being a better son, good husband, and good father.” For Joe, success is being a piece of the beauty of humanity.
From left: Joe Narkin and his manager Wil Patterson
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Showcasing Success - Daniel Freeman
Daniel advises all his children to press through issues instead of giving up– just like he did to repair their relationships.
Daniel Freeman’s work history before incarceration was reforestation, gathering forest products, or any other job where he thought he didn’t have to show up on time or could be his own boss. He liked it because he could keep drinking and using drugs. When he entered DOC custody, it was his 53rd arrest cycle. He had no self-esteem or way to make amends to his kids as he had lost custody of and had no contact with them. While at his first DOC housing assignment in a medium facility, he participated in several DOC programs where he learned the only true way to make amends was to change his behavior.
Daniel's next step was to find a work assignment. The OCE Metal Shop took a chance on him. He suddenly felt meaningful – productive – accountable. He started at the entry level as a grinder, then promoted to a welder with increasingly tougher projects. The job created structure and gave purpose to his life. He found he liked getting out of the mindset of general prison life. He completed OCE certification and then the DOC Work-based Education Automotive program, resulting in an associate’s degree. He transferred to a minimum custody facility for a 6-month intensive treatment program in a dorm atmosphere. He found it difficult because he couldn’t isolate himself anymore, but he didn’t give up. When he released, he attended the local community college, studying how to start a successful business. Life after incarceration has not been easy. However, it is not without rewards.
After many attempts, he qualified for tribal housing and moved from a trailer parked on someone’s property into a one bedroom apartment. He reconnected with his children who are all supportive of the changes he has made. They are building Daniel’s business on property belonging to one of his sons. He received a conditional use permit and building permits to build the final structure needed: a 36x48 shop with 3 bays for automotive/welding jobs using the skills he learned in the OCE and DOC programs. He bought a 90 amp welder. He received a lift and 80 gallon compressor through a grant. A Grand Ronde tribal member, he now has a contract with his tribe’s 477 program – the tribe will pay him to fix qualifying tribal members’ vehicles. Transition has been the biggest struggle, but he sees himself as being successful.
He worked with Indian Child Welfare and the Department of Human Services to reconnect with his youngest son (15), who, at first, didn’t want anything to do with his dad. Daniel didn’t give up and insisted on seeing his son every week. It paid off. Now they talk frequently, and Daniel advises all his children to press through issues instead of giving up – just like he did to repair their relationships.
Daniel has never violated his parole. In fact, his Parole Officer has been a huge support. In addition, Daniel’s vocational rehabilitation counselor has a similar conviction history and has supported Daniel throughout this process. Initially, Daniel had a hard time asking for assistance as he didn’t want to appear he was struggling. But he has found people are there the moment he asks for help.
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