The Gadsden Facility Goes Above and Beyond to Make Sure Residents Have Recreation
The recreation program at the Gadsden Correctional Facility has a reputation for being a top-quality operation, offering a variety of healthy activities and exercises for residents.
Rachel Berger is a resident who appreciates the ‘rec’ program.
“It’s one of the stress relievers,” she says, “just something to keep the distractions away. Just that physical exertion, getting you through your day. It’s a big part of a lot of our lives here, especially mine.”
When the COVID-19 Pandemic hit, Gadsden’s rec program had to stop, but the facility quickly adjusted. Warden Jerry Buscher stresses its importance.
“I think the exercise, physical activity is huge. You’ve heard all the stories, everybody talks about the 15 pounds they put on during COVID. And, also, it’s a mental health thing. Yeah, we had to figure out a way.”
As soon as they were authorized, the facility began to offer a modified version of their rec program, providing one hour of rec each day to each ‘quad’ or living area.
“We’re only out here with our quad,” explains resident Asia Jackson. “And in between, they clean and they sanitize everything, so you’re not really coming in contact with anybody else.”
It took a lot of logistics to make the modified rec program work, and dedicated staff made it happen, especially rec Program Director Charles Moore.
Asia Jackson agrees. “He tries to do everything that he can to accommodate us in different areas, as far as helping us utilize as much of everything that we can.”
“He has done everything to get gear, schedules for the dorm,” agrees Rachel Berger. “He comes in and works sometimes on the weekends to ensure that we have rec. I mean, how great is that? You’re not going to get that anywhere else.”
“The recreation here at Gadsden,” says Mr. Moore. “The ladies love it. This is something that they look forward to, day in and day out. And rec is definitely a big piece to helping them cope with this COVID, being able to come out and release some of that energy that they have, with where they have been in the dorms the whole time during this pandemic.”
“When they put the schedule in place,” says Rachel Berger, “to ensure that all of us got recreation every day, it was just – everybody was just so happy. To be able to come out here, even when it rains, we come out here. So, the fact that they opened up the gym, they opened up this track to get an hour a day was just – I’m very grateful.”
About Gadsden Correctional Facility
Gadsden Correctional Facility is accredited by the American Correctional Association—
achieving 100% 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).