Rockville Correctional Facility Parenting Program Receives Donation in Honor of its First Training Class in PEN Industries Call Center
Rockville Correctional Facility Parenting Program receives donation from Arizona charitable giving group celebrating the opening of a new PEN operation in Indiana.
Prison Enterprises Network (PEN), the Indiana Department of Correction’s industries operation, contracted with a company from Phoenix, Arizona to operate a Call Center at the Rockville Correctional Facility (RCF). In March 2015, the first training class of female offenders began a vigorous training program to become proficient in business skills, computer skills, and language techniques required of a successful call agent. Today, a graduation ceremony was held to acknowledge the efforts of the first training class.
The Arizona company, Televerde, has operated call centers in Arizona’s correctional industries system for over 13 years and is duplicating its operations in Indiana. The company conducts Business to Business calls only and all calls are recorded for training purposes. In Arizona, after offenders are trained as successful call agents on the inside, a civilian call center hires ex-offenders providing assistance for housing, transportation and continued education through a non-profit foundation. Televerde’s long term plan is to do the same in Indiana; hire ex-offenders who have learned skills and have been successful while incarcerated.
One of Televerde’s values is to work to better the communities in which they operate. Televerde’s charitable giving committee decided to hold a fundraiser in the Phoenix operation to raise funds for a contribution on behalf of the first training class at Rockville. The first training class voted on the program to receive the donation and selected the Rockville Parenting Program, the Hope Center.
“The Parenting Program is meant to help the women to become better parents by encouraging communication, fostering healthy relationships and teaching various skills. One Parenting Program activity is called “Read to Me”. The women in the program are allowed to create a DVD recording of themselves reading a book and then send it along with the book to their kids or grandkids. The program is a partnership with the Indiana State Library. Funding for the books needed for this program was recently in jeopardy and we were looking for organizations interested in helping raise funds. Now thanks to the Phoenix operation charitable giving group’s donation of $631.00, the program will continue at Rockville,” commented RCF Superintendent Julie Stout.
PEN equips offenders for successful reentry through meaningful work and career development. “Partnering with viable, private businesses that teach offenders valuable, marketable job skills allows PEN to offer more work opportunities for offenders. Job training prepares offenders for a life of work, responsibility and success. Success means breaking the cycle of crime. It is never too late for a new beginning,” states Doug Evans, Reentry/Operations Manager, PEN Career Focused Reentry.
Commissioner Bruce Lemmon congratulated the graduates of the training class and addressed the class saying, “We are proud of your accomplishments and your commitment to preparing yourself for a life of work after release. Partnerships with private sector companies across the state prepare offenders by providing valuable job skills. Being the first training class is an awesome responsibility. You will be the measurement for those who follow; set a high bar for them and yourselves. Use this opportunity as the turning point in your lives.”
Rockville staff, PEN staff and Televerde staff all congratulated the sixteen graduates and commented on their efforts and successes.
The Indiana Department of Correction’s recidivism rate is 35.8% and has reduced over the last three years thanks to the dedication of IDOC staff and their commitment to successful re-entry. PEN work opportunities, job training programs, faith-based initiatives and substance abuse programs all contribute to this lowered rate.