During the Winter 2012 quarter, students in the Criminal Justice Corrections class had the opportunity to tour the Hennepin County Adult Correction Facility. The purpose for the visit was twofold: show the students the day-to-day activities in a correctional facility as well as have the students put together recommendations for module programming.
Upon arriving at the facility, students intermingled with the clients waiting to check in. According to Ryan Samuelson, CJ Chair and Instructor, “Students were shocked to find out that clients were willing to check themselves in and out of the facility.” Students also learned that over the cold Minnesota winter months, many homeless people find ways to get into the facility because it is a place where food, showers, and shelter can be found.
Superintendent Dennis Gilbertson led the tour before handing the group off to various department heads. Students saw various wings, including the dining and laundering facilities, the industry program, and the newly built women’s facility.
The CJ students learned about modules in the building and visually took in as much as possible. Over the following weeks in the Corrections class, the students put together recommendations for activities as if they were in charge of the module. The key component in these recommendations was deciding what would be healthy and productive for the clients to do that would also pass the safety and security standards. After the write-ups were complete, they were passed on to the Superintendent for review and possible implementation.
The students thoroughly enjoyed the tour and the activity. Carl Edwardson, a CJ student said, “I was impressed with the camaraderie between the correctional officers and the clients. It was a very eye opening experience.” Sara Ohrn, another CJ student said, “Seeing the HCACF firsthand made an impact on me. I never realized that both clients and correctional officers had the same goals, and these were achieved by such a variety of programming.”