Part II: “They Treat You Like a Person” Says One Woman at the Lockhart Facility
Video Shot Prior to COVID-19 Pandemic
If you missed Part I of this story, click here.
“It’s important to realize that we have to make a difference.”
So says Warden Jennifer Brown of the Lockhart Correctional Facility in Lockhart, TX.
When Lockhart City Mayor Pro Tem Angie Gonzales was invited to be a speaker at a GED graduation at the prison, she was a little nervous.
“I was one of those individuals thinking, ‘Oh no, what am I going to encounter? Is it going to be a good experience?’. All these things just went into your mind, thank you to the media and television, because you see all this. But if you don’t put yourself out there and give you the opportunity to see, ‘you know what?’ It’s not what I thought it was. You really do need to give yourself an opportunity to go visit. Go ask questions, because whatever thought you have in your mind that that facility is? It’s completely not what you actually think it is.”
Ms. Gonzales is particularly impressed with the staff and how they work with the residents.
“They want to reach out, and they want to tell that person, yes, what you did, probably wasn’t the right thing at the time. But you know what? We’re going to take that, and we’re not going to forget about it, it’s going to be with you. Because you need to remember that was not the right thing to do. But we as a staff, we’re here to show you that you can change. We care about you, and this is where it’s going to start. We’re going to help you to get to that point in your life where you need it to be from the very get-go.”
Misty Campbell is a resident of the Lockhart facility.
“A lot of people think of incarceration as a negative, and I’ve made mine a positive. I’ve done nothing but work on myself and make my life better. So, to me it was a blessing in disguise.”
“To me, we all deserve a second chance,” says Ms. Gonzales. “Of course, each situation is going to be a little different. But to know that there are people in this facility who are willing to give those individuals that second chance to make their life what it needs to be? That is absolutely amazing.”
Carnicia Foster is also a resident of the facility.
“It shows us what we want to do, who we want to be and gets us ready for the outside world. And I think it has changed me a lot to see life differently.”
Warden Brown explains her perspective.
“But I tell you, it is the most rewarding thing to see that female walking across that stage with that certificate in her hand and knowing that we made this happen. We made the right calls, talked to the right people, and have the support of administration. That’s important. So, that’s exciting for me. To walk down the halls and see my classes full, to see Austin Community College in one area, and the University of Texas in the other. That’s amazing to have at your facility.”
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).