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Friday, November 22, 2013

Update on Wilkinson County Correctional Facility

Thanksgiving Day is on my mind as I write this. What are you thankful for? We shouldn't need a special day to think about what we have to be thankful for, but it isn't a bad thing. I am thankful for my loved ones. I'm thankful that the atmosphere here at the facility seems to be improving in certain respects and only isolated incidents have occurred. I am thankful that Warden Shaw seems genuinely concerned seeing the prison run as it should.

One thing that has changed is the facility's name. This is no longer Wilkinson County Correctional Facility, but is now known as  Wilkinson County Correctional Center (WCCC). There are 22 pods where prisoners are housed, and 16 of them are "general population" and are no longer locked down (not including the two pods where prisoners are housed on protective custody status). There are only 4 pods where prisoners are housed on long-term segregation status, and one of those is an "incentive program" where prisoners classified on high risk or security threat group status are allowed to earn their way back into general prison population. There are two halls at WCCC- the West and South halls. So far, the general population pods on the South hall have not been allowed to go to the dining hall to eat, but are served trays off a cart on their respective pods. All the pods on the West hall must go to the dining hall if they want to eat.

Education programming is in the initial stages of being established. 

There are 3 levels to the GED program:
 - Basic level 1, taught by Mrs. Ware
 - Basic level 2, taught by Mrs. Scott (whom I tutor for)
 - Pre-GED, taught by Mrs. Alexander

Two vocational programs will be offered, in which prisoners can earn certification:
 - Painting
 - Facility maintenance

Alcohol & Drug programs are offered in two course lengths:
 - the short program last 8 weeks
 - the longer program lasts 6 months
Religious programs will soon be held as Chaplain Barnes settles into his role here at WCCC. This is what I'm looking forward to.
Recreation opportunities include:
 - basketball tournaments
 - table tennis
 - a bodyweight workout station donated by the police academy
 - chess
 - checkers
 - dominoes
Some in-cell programming is made available through the Case Managers in the form of interactive journaling. Also, an evidence based program called Moral Reconation Therapy is in the works, and focuses on cognitive behavioral treatment. Pre-release for prisoners with 6 months or less left to serve on their sentence will soon be available.

As things progress I will do my best to keep you updated. Thank you all for your patience with me and my lack of new posts as of late. I hope to remedy that. Thank you for caring and for all your feedback, suggestions and support.

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About Steven

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Steven Farris is a prisoner who has been incarcerated since a month after his 16th birthday in 1998. Currently serving a life sentence without the possibility for parole, he is seeking to educate the public about the true nature of prison and the widespread and negative effects of the prison industrial complex. Steven has worked with both the National Prison Project of the ACLU, as well as the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in furthering this effort.

You can contact him directly at:
Steven Farris #R5580
P.O. Box 1889
Woodville, MS 39669-1889

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