Friday, May 6, 2022

Prisons Honors Outstanding Volunteers and Major Partners of the Year

May 6, 2022

The North Carolina Division of Prisons has presented awards to some of the men, women and organizations that provided outstanding support to the prison system over the past year.

“They have provided extraordinary contributions,’’ said Todd Ishee, Commissioner of Prisons. “They have made a major difference in our operations over the past year. Their valuable services have helped to make our prisons and communities safer.”

In an awards celebration coinciding with Correctional Officer and Correctional Employee Week, Ishee awarded the External Partner of the Year award to the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association.

He said the association was an invaluable partner that worked closely with Prisons leadership to deal with COVID-19 outbreaks that impacted both the prisons and the jails.

Together, Prisons and the association jointly created pandemic protocols to safely test, quarantine, isolate and transport offenders from jails to serve prison sentences to minimize the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 virus.

“This virus didn’t care about jurisdictions or who had what responsibility, and the Sheriffs’ Association worked hard to come to compromises that benefited both the 50-some state prisons and the nearly 100 jails across the state,” Ishee said. “They are true partners, and I am very grateful for their support.”

He specifically thanked Eddie Caldwell, the association’s executive vice president and general counsel, along with New Hanover Sheriff Ed McMahon, Transylvania Sheriff David Mahoney, Caldwell Sheriff Alan Jones, as well as Lauren Earnhardt, deputy executive vice president, and Matthew Boyatt, deputy general counsel.

Awards for Volunteers of the Year were given to:

  • The Ministry of Hope contributed to the Western Correctional Center for Women in a variety of important ways. In addition to providing spiritual guidance to offenders, the ministry sponsored a transitional mentoring program in which community volunteers provided role models for living a healthy life to the women transitioning from the prison system back into their communities.
  • Dr. Rick Smith was the driving force for the Sampson Correctional/Campbell University post-secondary education program. He influenced and inspired students in the program, and with his passion for teaching brought many faculty to “buy into” the four-year-degree program and to see the many benefits and changes that the program has on the students. The success of the program is largely due to the work he has done and his desire to see all the students excel.
  • Jeffery McPherson, the horticulture instructor at Lumberton Correctional Institution, has since 2006 gone above and beyond his duties as an instructor on a regularly basis. Aside from teaching a class of 25 offenders, he ensured the entrance to the facility was well manicured and visually pleasant. His positive energy has been contagious to staff and offenders alike.
  • Dr. Seth Bible and Jan Bostick were the impetus for the success of the field ministry program at Nash Correctional. Bostick is the executive director for  Coach Joe Gibb’s prison ministry Game Plan for Life. Bible is the director of prison programs for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Together, they worked closely with the staff at Nash Correctional for the past five years in a unique partnership. Their “get it done” attitude --combined with their  commitment, and genuine desire to see the offenders in this program succeed in the classroom -- made a big difference.
  • Roy Jones has provided his efforts and assistance in an unselfish and timeless manner at the Dan River Prison Work Farm, where he started volunteering roughly 25 years ago by providing weekly Bible studies. He is dedicated to the staff and offenders and is an excellent role model who changes lives for the better. His work has proven to be effective, and he exemplifies the true spirit of volunteerism.
  • The Rev. Arnold Thornton is a dedicated and faithful volunteer at Neuse Correctional Institution. He comes to the facility on a weekly basis to meet with the offenders for Bible studies and services. He has been a volunteer at the prison for more than 20 years. He began his prison ministry as early as 1981 serving the Wayne County Jail and continued until COVID-19 struck in 2020.  He has been a member of the Yokefellow Prison Ministry for approximately 25 years and exemplifies a willingness to serve others.

Photos from the awards ceremony can be found here.

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