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Director Takes a Run at SAI
Director Daniel Heyns joined Special Alternative Incarceration (SAI) staff and trainees in a two-mile run during their morning physical training (PT) session on Tuesday, August 23. Afterwards, Director Heyns toured the facility, remarking at the level of discipline, organization, and professionalism exhibited by staff running the program.
Over the past few years, SAI has been dogged by rumors the program will be shuttered but Director Heyns said under his tenure he will do what it takes to ensure the program stays in operation. He was impressed with employees, the programming being delivered and the outcomes achieved by the offenders transitioning through the program.
During the tour, Director Heyns experienced a trainee graduation where about 35 trainees reunited with family members while over 100 other trainees watched the celebration. Even casual observers could see how the success of the graduating trainees filtered down to those trainees who were watching, hopeful of their own successful completion in a few weeks.
The Director also had a chance to observe programming delivered to trainees by Corporal Robert Kinney, who has over 15 years experience shaping offenders into successful citizens. The program Kinney delivers encourages offenders to examine their thoughts and actions while challenging them to take responsibility for their current situation. Offenders often confront each other to think in ways that support success and identify failure. Those offenders who blame others for their own situation are quickly reminded by classmates that their choices got them here, nothing else. It's one of the most intense classes in the SAI program.
Director Heyns also visited the control center and a housing unit, and had lunch in the chow hall with staff and trainees. The overriding concern among staff he talked to was the uncertainty regarding SAI. They were excited to see the new Director and hear his comments about the importance of the program and how it fits into the overall management of the offender population.
The Director was appreciative of all SAI staff, including Warden Burt, Deputy Warden Pass, Corporal Atkins, Corporal Rochefort, Captain Walling and Captain Tellez for assisting with the run and the tour and being such welcoming hosts.
Upon leaving, he said, "This is a professional operation with squared-away staff. I'm impressed." That first impression will be a lasting one, and likely the one necessary to keep SAI around in the coming years.