Helping Staff Feel Valued Through MTC’s “Culture of Caring” Program: Part I

“We spend a lot of our waking hours at our job, right? We spend more time probably on the job than we do around our regular family, right? So, it’s important that we go to a place that we want to be at,” says Wayne Schmoker, facility director at the Texas Civil Commitment Center.

MTC has developed a “Culture of Caring” program to help employees feel welcome, appreciated, and valued.

Dora Castro is the facility administrator at the Otero County Processing Center. “The ‘Culture of Caring’ [program] is very important,” she says. “Staff want to feel appreciated and valued.”

Wardens Interviews Culture of Caring PART Still
MTC staff.

The program is designed to help leaders create an inclusive, trusting culture where employees feel safe and comfortable.

“Well, a culture of caring is good because it is the mood of the facility,” explains Bernadette Rodriguez, warden of the East Texas Treatment Facility. “It is the tone of the facility.”

Donald Jackson is the warden of the East Mississippi Correctional Facility. “When folks first come on board, they have to know at least one thing: the administration cares about them. We care about their safety, and we also care about how their job atmosphere is at the time of employment.”

“Well, a culture of caring means there is buy-in to the process,” says Brian Gurney, former acting governor of the Parklea Correctional Centre in Australia. “And with buy-in comes engagement.”

“The ‘Culture of Caring’ also shows staff that MTC supports their endeavors and wants them to reach their full potential and become successful in whatever goals that they have set for themselves,” says Francisco Venegas, facility administrator of the El Valle Detention Facility.

Wardens Interviews Culture of Caring PART Still
MTC staff.

“For me, the ‘Culture of Caring’ really represents what we think and believe about our staff,” says Henry Atencio, warden of the Gregory S. Coleman Unit. “And we want to set ourselves apart. And we want people to know that not only do you come to work every day, but you’re coming to work at a place that has a brotherhood and a sisterhood of corrections. We have a strong camaraderie and we care about you every day.”

“I think that our philosophy on ‘Culture of Caring’ has kind of developed a sense of family atmosphere in our facilities,” says David Driskell, former warden of the Diboll Correctional Center. “And I think it carries on. And even in our inmate population, they start embracing that and it just uplifts everybody that’s on the facility.”

We’ll continue to spotlight the “Culture of Caring” program in Part II of this story and hear from more of our correctional and detention facility leaders.

Want to learn more about the “Culture of Caring” program? Watch Part II and Part III of this series.