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How the Bluebonnet Detention Center Prioritizes MTC’s “Believe It Or Not I Care” Philosophy

“Our facility’s motto is ‘BIONIC – Believe It Or Not I Care’,” says Victor Simmons, an employee at the Bluebonnet Detention Center in Anson, TX. “You know, being the recreation coordinator, I want to make sure I’m showing my BIONIC as much as I can.”

At Bluebonnet, staff are not content with just meeting expectations and fulfilling requirements.

“Our warden makes it very clear – our wardens, all of our administration – they make it very clear what their expectations are of us,” says Training Manager Jennifer Villanueva. “I think that that has really helped lead the charge in terms of how our staff interacts with our detainees and how our staff interacts with each other. And if we’re not taking care of them and we’re not taking care of each other, then we’re not doing our job.”

Bluebonnet Extra Mile Still
Jennifer Villanueva, training manager.

The facility goes out of its way to positively impact the lives of the detainees who pass through its walls, providing opportunities above and beyond what’s required, especially when it comes to healthcare. Jennifer Villanueva organized a series of health and wellness classes to give residents more opportunities to improve their quality of life.

“We have a great team here,” Jennifer explains. “We kind of use a multidisciplinary approach with medical, mental health, recreation, food service, and we try to incorporate classes within those departments under the ‘Programs’ umbrella just for an overall wellness experience.”

Victor is always looking for ways to improve recreational and leisure opportunities for the residents, even in the smallest ways like initiating and overseeing the recent installation of expanded exercise equipment, something he was not required to do.

“Recreation to me is another form of mental health,” he says. “When they come outside, this is their time to let out the stress, work out, have that leisure time that they need. They have all sorts of different things that they can learn throughout being here at this facility.”

Bluebonnet Extra Mile Still
Victor Simmons, recreation coordinator.

“We’re doing this on the front end and the detainees see all of this,” says Steve Mora, facility administrator. “They also recognize that we do care about them and that we’re putting in the steps necessary to get them to a better spot.”

“If, at the end of the day,” Jennifer says, “we can reach out to and help a handful of detainees, or 100 detainees, or as many participants as we can get – you know, if they’re sleeping better, if they’re feeling better, if they’re just less restless – at the end of the day, that’s it’s a big win in our books.”