One Woman at the Gadsden Facility Says They’re Given Tools to Succeed

Video Shot Prior to COVID-19 Pandemic

At the Gadsden Correctional Facility, staff make every effort to provide programming that will make a difference in the lives of the all-female population. The culinary program is a prime example. Peter Holtmann is the instructor.

“This program is a vocational program,” he says, ‘that’s the same that Florida gives on the outside.”

“I think that we’re given a really great set of tools here with hands-on experience,” states Alysha Rahmer, a resident student. “We get a lot of really cool books that we get to use as far as our course work goes. And, of course, the Chef has all the real-world knowledge that we can’t get out of a book? That’s really great, too.”

Warden Jerry Buscher shares his impressions of Mr. Holtmann.

“Yes, Peter Holtmann comes to us from previously working at Ritz Carlton. He worked for Disney Corporation. He held some very high-level chef positions. That’s great. That’s great to know. That’s great to know that he has the knowledge. But what makes him even more important and better at this facility is he loves what he’s doing.”

“He’ll help us with management,” explains resident student, Elizabeth Justice, “or if we want to do serving, he’ll help us through that; get the books for that. Or, even like bartending, he’ll give us books that can help us through that, if that’s what we want to do; or baking, it’s not just the kitchen-wise.”

Mr. Holtmann expresses his desires.

“I really try and make it have an impact, even beyond culinary. I do not make the assumption that every single student who comes through my curriculum is going to be a chef. But there is a broad range of jobs out there in culinary arts, including management, front of the house. And even hotel management. I’ve run lodges and I’ve worked at hotels. I’ve worked at high-end restaurants. So, if someone comes to me and they express they want to maybe go into management, I try and get them the resources, and I tailor the class to meet that.”

“I think that that really gives us a wide set of options when we go home,” Alysha Rahmer says. “To be able to say, ‘I want to go work in a bakery,’ or ‘I wanna go be a server somewhere or a hostess.’ And we get all of that in this course.”

Elizabeth Justice agrees.

“Chef? He cares. He cares about us leaving here with something else other than what we came here with.”

Alysha Rahmer continues her praise.

“He’s really great in understanding that we all are very, very different, and we all learn very differently, and we all have different personality types. Being able to better myself as a person while I’m here is really big to me.”

Warden Buscher explains what it’s all about.

“It’s all geared towards helping the offender find employment when they release from Gadsden.”