Hear from Men at the Sanders Unit About Their Opportunities to Improve Their Lives
“The Sanders Estes Unit is committed to providing quality programming for our offenders here,” says Warden Randy Treon, “in the hope that we will provide opportunity and hope for the guys that we are charged with watching.”
The programming department is required, under contract with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, to provide two vocational programs. But the facility currently provides seven and is working on its eighth.
“This not only gives added value for our customers,” explains Warden Treon, “but it gives real opportunity for our offender population.”
Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, providing ongoing programming at the facility has been a challenge. Bobby Matthews is the education director.
“There’s a lot of stress in the air with COVID-19,” he says, “no visitation from family. We’ve implemented movement to other programs. We have a lot of things going on in their lives. And what we are going to make sure is that programs are still in place and intact. During these trying times, we’re going to stay focused, and we’re going to continue to do a good job to prepare these guys for re-entry into society.”
“Being here at Sanders Estes really changed me, made me become a better man,” says Roger Trujillo, a resident of the facility. “And so far, getting my GED? That’s a great accomplishment. I never thought I’d be able to do it. I dropped out at an early age. Now I’ve got something I can take home to my kids and show them if I can do it, they can do it. And I believe if I can do it, anybody else in this prison system can do it.
“Most of all, all the teachers here are really good. They show you what you need. They teach you what you really need and what you lack. The classes are real fun. I can learn, be comfortable with my peers.”
Efraim Rodriguez is another resident of the facility.
“When I came to this unit,” he recalls, “the first thing that I asked is was there a school. And they asked me if I want to go to school, and I said ‘yes, I was waiting for this all this time’”.
“I’m just taking advantage of this, because I know when I leave this place, I’m gonna do it out there. So, I got my GED, thank God I got my GED. Now I’m going to college and get another trade which is logistics, so I can have better opportunities when I go back to my country.”
“I thank God for everything, for these people here, for the administration, which is a good administration, all the teachers here in this unit. And all the staff here at this unit, they’re very good.”