Staff at Kyle Share Passion for Helping Men Succeed
Video Recorded Before COVID-19
“I like what I do,” says Steve Dean, a counselor at Kyle Correctional Center in Kyle, TX. Programming efforts at the facility are all about preparing men for release. Mr. Dean is one of many instructors tasked with helping the men succeed once they leave the facility and enter society.
“I feel fulfilled even if I’m helping just one guy in here,” he says. “Because I know that guy is going to help someone else.”
Susanna Montes is also a counselor at the facility. “I feel I am making a difference,” she explains. “I feel working in this environment has changed me as a person, but also has changed people’s lives, in the way they think.”
Much of the programming provided at the facility is intense rehabilitation, encouraging client-led organization and instruction.
“Because I think they learn a lot more from each other than they do from me,” states Mr. Dean. “So, I just try to facilitate them getting involved and actually teaching one another. Because I’m not sitting in the chair they are.”
Bruce Zeller is the warden of the facility.
“You know, it doesn’t work with everybody, it starts with them,” he says. “But by and large, most of them understand what they’ve done up to this point hasn’t worked, so they’re willing to listen to the new ideas and open up their mind and their ears and take in the new information and try to do better. And that’s one of the things that we tell them in orientation is, ‘what you’ve done up to this point hasn’t been working, why don’t you give us a try.’ And you really do have a good buy-in.”
“People can change”, affirms Ms. Montes. “No matter what they go through, people can change.”
Community leaders have been impressed with the facility’s efforts to prepare the men for successful release.
“The work here is great,” observes Kyle City Manager Scott Sellers, “with the focus on education, the focus on training, and really getting our residents to the point where they are not just released, but where they’re productive, contributing members of society. And that’s what we love to see in Kyle.”
Bradley Roberts is a resident of the facility.
“I participate in as many programs as I can get that are offered here,” he says. “They have a lot of things to help you with your recovery.”
“It helps me with communication skills,” explains resident Curtis King. “It helps me see the things that I never saw in myself; my problems.”
Jimmy Lee Smith, another resident, adds his own experience.
“This place right here—if you come here once and you put your mind to it—you’ll learn a lot. And once you get out there, I think this will help you from relapsing. I think this might save my life, and my business, and everything; and my family. Coming here, I think it done me a world of good. And I’m really grateful that I had a chance to come here.”
About Kyle Correctional Center
Kyle Correctional Center is accredited by the American Correctional Association—
achieving over 99% compliance for both mandatory and non-mandatory standards in
its most recent audit. Other accreditations and certifications include the Correctional
Education Association and the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).