MTC’s Investment in Rehabilitation at the Sanders Estes Unit
“We are contractually liable to have two vocational classes here at Sanders Estes. We currently have seven, and we’re working on number eight.”
Randy Treon is the warden at the Sanders Estes Unit in Venus, Texas. He explains that there are eight vocational classes at the Sanders Estes Unit, when the contract only requires them to have two. In fact, all combined programming available at the facility exceeds the expectations. The question is, why?
“I just think it’s the right thing to do,” says Warden Treon. “We have the opportunity here, we have the space here to do that. I’ve got an education department that’s capable of doing that, and more than willing to do it, and with the partnership of the local community college, there’s no reason not to. I think we’re setting a standard, not just for private institutions, but for all institutions about how these guys should be treated, and opportunities they should be able to get.”
Justin Holloway is a resident at the facility.
“So, if you’re one of those individuals actually taking advantage of the opportunities here,” he says, “then this unit is amazing. It’s beyond anything that I thought I’d ever participate in. Anything from the Paws of Hope program to anything faith-based related, the chaplaincy department to the education department, it’s very well-rounded in every aspect.”
“I was working in construction before this,” explains Brennan Roberson, currently taking advantage of the building trade programming. “This just adds a whole new level to my knowledge that I can apply to the business I work for. So, it expands what I can do from what I already knew.”
Justin Holloway agrees. He says, “The education department, specifically, on this unit, allows you to continue to hone your skills, if you’re in a trade, or get your GED, which is a very good program, a lot of people are achieving that.”
“There’s a lot more value than just the knowledge they’re teaching us,” continues Brenna Roberson. “That you can apply to the world.”
Richard Allen is the local fire chief. He makes regular safety inspections at Sanders Estes. He is also quite amazed at the many opportunities available at the facility.
“Just walking through the facility,” says Chief Allen, “and seeing all the facility has; whether it be fire suppression, or just what they offer to the inmates. It’s amazing to walk through and see what all is out there. You don’t’ realize it unless you actually get to go out there and walk through and see.”
“What we’ve been able to do here,” says Warden Treon, “is create a programming environment where they’re not only getting quality programming, but they’re getting programming that comes along with certificates that are useful in the free world which helps them get employment once they get outside. Getting through the penitentiary is half the battle. Once you get outside, you have to be able to maintain your behavior, and find a living, and be able to do what you need to do stay out. And that’s what this programming gives a lot of these guys.”
About Sanders Estes Unit
Sanders Estes Unit 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).