College Tour of Bradshaw State Jail Helps Inspire Students’ Future Careers

Students of the Introduction to Criminal Justice class at Panola College in Carthage, TX, visited the Bradshaw State Jail in nearby Henderson to take a tour and learn more about the corrections industry.

“For the students, I want them to experience firsthand and to understand the differences between reality and what they see on TV,” says Mark Dickerson, professor of sociology and criminology at the college.

Bradshaw State Jail has hosted this tour for Panola College students for several years now. Warden Jerry Rayford sees great value in welcoming the students on-site.

“You’ve never been in a prison and you’re in a class and being taught about prisons, you’re going to focus on what you have seen, which is normally the fiction that’s on TV. It’s not those things that are in reality. It’s not all the things that you’re trying to do to better people, to give them opportunities to help them so that they don’t come back.”

Bradshaw College Tour Still
Jerry Rayford, warden.

The students who take the tour have a variety of career goals.

“I want to become a teacher,” says Isabella Zamarron. “A second-grade ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher.”

“I want to become a warden at a prison,” says Destiny Wright.

Destiny is certainly at the right place. But so is Isabella. Regardless of career goals, there is great value in the tour.

“I didn’t expect it to be like that,” says Isabella. “I thought it was how it was in the movies. And seeing it, it was a lot more real than I thought it would be. They’re still humans, and they’re just people who had a different path in life and they’re just working towards going back into society.”

Bradshaw College Tour Still
Isabella Zamarron, college student.

“We can really treat everybody the same no matter what they’ve really done,” Destiny says. “You can’t really judge anybody based on past experiences. We just treat everybody the same way that you want to be treated in the outside world.”

“I appreciate MTC and Bradshaw,” says Professor Dickerson. “They always make the prison available. They’re always cooperative, and they always take the time to answer the students. As far as Bradshaw and MTC go, I really appreciate their cooperation with my classes.”