Part I: “They Treat You Like a Person” Says One Woman at the Lockhart Facility
Video Shot Prior to COVID-19 Pandemic
“I think it’s important that while that offender is here in our facility, they’re not just doing time,” says Warden Jennifer Brown of the all-female Lockhart Correctional Facility in Lockhart TX.
“We want them to be productive. We want them busy, because we want that woman to be a better woman when she leaves Lockhart Correctional Facility.”
The facility is working hard to prepare every woman within their care to be successful once they’re released from prison.
“Lockhart is a really good unit,” says Carnicia Foster, a resident of the facility. “I mean, hey, they help you with a lot. We got all different types of programs. They help you. I like it, it’s an awesome unit.”
Misty Campbell is also a resident. “They treat you like you are a person,” she says, “instead of, like, just a number. Most of the officers, the wardens, they know us by name. We’re not just a number to them. We are an actual human being. And they do want to see success in us. They push us for success. But they also have compassion.”
Programming opportunities are taught and perceived as much more than simply hard work at Lockhart. The staff’s approach is different than what many of the women are used to.
“So, it’s a little more open,” explains Goodwill high school instructor, Brandon Alarcon. “They’re treated as adults, and so they feel more apt to want to do something for us as teachers, and they want to do good for us. I had a student that’s like, ‘I passed your class, but I might as well failed’, because in her eyes a ‘C’ was failing. So, they want to get As and Bs. They don’t want to get anything less than that which is really awesome.”
“The staff have to bring that culture,” states Warden Brown, “they have to bring that BIONIC (Believe it or Not I Care) culture of caring to the facility. And if they don’t have it? Our job is to ensure that we instill that in them as well. And I think it will bleed over into that offender’s lifestyle, as soon as she gets up in the morning, till she goes to bed at night.”
“I talk to my teachers all the time, and they’re getting us ready,” Ms. Foster says. “They’re asking me, ‘do I need resources?’, because a lot of people need resources, and in this facility, they help you. They have different programs, but they help you with resources that you need, like if you can’t get home, they help you with housing. They help you get jobs. The program I’m in for high school, they help you get a job.”
Instructor Alarcon praises the environment of the facility.
“I’m just grateful to be here at the Lockhart facility. It’s amazing to come in every day, and everybody’s in a good mood, and it’s just an awesome, positive atmosphere.”
Ms. Foster is grateful for her new perspective gained at the facility. “I think it has changed me a lot; to see life differently.”
About Gregory S. Coleman Unit
Gregory S. Coleman 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).