A Resident at the Wilkinson Facility Praises Management for Positive Culture
Christopher Myers, a resident at the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility, has been so impressed with Warden Scott Middlebrooks and Deputy Warden of Programs George Castro, that he wrote a letter of thanks to them. He said the difference they’ve made at the institution is “monumental.”
“The biggest changes were those that directly affected the inmates. New programs were instituted. The recreation department saw a lot of improvements. Warden Middlebrooks and Warden Castro also created an inmate band and choir. They started an arts and crafts program to let the men showcase their talents. They purchased PlayStation 4s to rotate from zone to zone on a meritorious basis. One of the bigger changes that was made was the implementing of prison-wide church programs. Once or twice a month, we have had outside guests come in to hold huge church programs. These programs have included the band and the choir and most recently the addition of a staff choir.”
Mr. Myers even wrote about the food.
“Every holiday, there is a cookout with food prepared on the grill. The dining hall has seen the addition of a salad bar on Wednesdays. The cookouts are not just on holidays either. There have been several occasions where the warden has had the grill going just because.”
One of the things Mr. Myers is most grateful for is the Honor Pod.
“In order to get to and stay on the Honor Pod, an inmate has to stay free of disciplinary action. This pod has a foosball table, a washer and dryer, an extra TV with their own PS4, which never leaves the zone. They get Bingo night on Saturday or Sunday night most weeks. They also are allowed to purchase TVs that they can watch in their cells. The standard of living on this zone is so much better than other zones, but we are held to a higher standard. If you get one disciplinary action you are removed from the zone.”
Recently, the facility has been successful in strengthening partnerships in the community.
“The public schools here in Woodville are very poorly funded and desperately in need. The prison has donated water bottles and other goods to them. One project that is currently underway is Operation Varnish. This project allows the men in the woodshop to build bookshelves that are donated to the schools. Another future project that is underway allows select men to talk to the school children via Zoom. This project will not be a ‘scared straight’ program as much as it will give the children a chance to see the direct consequences of poor choices in their lives. It will also show these kids that even under the most adverse circumstances, you can always change your life if you change your choices.”
Mr. Myers sums up his gratitude.
“What the warden has done is give those guys who want all the opportunities to do better for themselves. I feel that it is making a huge difference though, and I feel that most of the men who are doing time here would say the same.”