Friday, May 6, 2022

Prisons Spotlights Top Staff

The state prison system, as part of its Correctional Officers and Correctional Employees Week observances, honored Prisons staff for exemplary work.
May 6, 2022

The state prison system, as part of its Correctional Officers and Correctional Employees Week observances, honored Prisons staff for exemplary work.

“We’re here to formally recognize the best of the best corrections professionals in North Carolina,” Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee told honorees and guests at the annual awards ceremony on Wednesday. “We want to honor our team members who have done extraordinary service.”

The two most prestigious awards, Warden of the Year and Correctional Officer of the Year, were presented to Warden Doris Daye of Caswell Correctional Institution and to Officer Michael Wyche of Warren Correctional Institution.

Dozens more Prisons employees earned accolades in a number of categories, spanning the range of correctional duties.

Four regional Wardens of the Year, including Daye from Prisons’ Central region, were chosen:

  • Mike Slagle of Mountain View Correctional was named the Western region’s warden of the year. A 27-year veteran, Slagle has organized numerous fundraisers to support staff in their time of need and is always the first to volunteer to help other facilities in various situations. His professionalism and leadership are evident in the day-to-day operation of his facility; he strives for excellence.
  • Kenneth Diggs of Albemarle Correctional was named the South Central region’s warden of the year. Diggs is a 30-year veteran who started his career as a correctional officer and advanced through the ranks to warden in 2019. He has amassed many awards, training classes and certificates and has served as an instructor for the Department of Public Safety.
  • Morris Reid of Neuse Correctional was named the Eastern region’s warden of the year. He has shown tireless and unwavering leadership and is keenly focusing on accomplishing the mission at hand.

The statewide Difference Maker of the Year award went to Alicia Norris, a security specialist at the Prisons administration headquarters in Raleigh. She has devoted herself to becoming a resource for the field by supporting prisons with information and assisting them in their investigations. Her dedication, tireless work ethic and attention to detail earned her the award.

Difference Maker of the Year awards also were bestowed to outstanding staff from each of the prison system’s four regions:

  • Wendy Helmig from Craggy Correctional was named the Western region’s difference maker of the year. The administrative services manager works hard and juggles human resources, offender banking, accounts payable and oversees five other positions. Without complaint, she is willing to do whatever is needed to keep the prison running efficiently and effectively.
  • Valerie Trexler from Hoke Correctional was named the South Central region’s difference maker of the year. A nurse-educator who teaches CPR classes for the region as well as new nurse orientations and all nursing classes, she also helped with mass offender COVID-19 testing in the region’s prisons. She is always willing to lead a helping hand and offer her expertise to whomever needs it.
  • Jackie Rowe from Granville Correctional was named the Central region’s difference maker of the year. The lead nurse at the prison for the past five years, she is a member of the employee enhancement committee and is the first to volunteer if it will make a difference for a colleague or someone in the community. 
  • Rachel Price from Craven Correctional was named the Eastern region’s difference maker of the year. Although busy as the warden’s secretary, she has taken on other additional duties outside her responsibilities. She created and maintained the digital bulletin boards in the dorms, established a movie library, and participates in and organizes fundraising events both for the Combined Campaign and Special Olympics.

Each prison named its Correctional Officer of the Year:

Western Region
Alexander: Terry Church
Avery-Mitchell: Chris Holder
Caldwell: Tommy Norris
Catawba: Larry Parker (also a winner for Innovations/Teamwork)
Craggy:  Michael Caldwell
Davidson: Tatiana Guy
Foothills: Timothy Jenkins
Forsyth: William Campbell
Gaston: Teanna Anderson
Lincoln: John Daugherty
Marion: Ray Hamilton
Mountain View: Jason Johnson
North Piedmont: Tatianna Jones
Piedmont: Brian Lacky
Rutherford: Sapphire Newman
Wilkes: John Barker

South-Central Region
Albemarle: Kenneth Martinelli
Columbus: Tracy J. Jacob
Harnett: Tonya Edwards
Lumberton: Scottie Sealy
New Hanover: Wanda Goodman
Pender: Robert Brown
Richmond: Jyleal Savannah
Robeson: James Blue
Sampson: Angela Newkirk
Sanford: Edwards Goins
Scotland: Lakita Drake
Southern: Angela Sessoms
Tabor: Darell Floyd

Central Region
Anson: Claudette McCauley
Caswell: Timothy Weadon
Central Prison: Jeffrey Lynn
Dan River: Josie Thompson
Franklin: Carolyn Brodie
Granville: Alfreda Threat
Nash: Jason Sloan
NCCIW: Anthony Hudgins
Orange: Kirsten C. Parker
Randolph: Rebecca Akers-Dale
Wake: Tyler Dixon
Warren: Michael Wyche (statewide Correctional Officer of the Year)
Western: Pam Miller

Eastern Region
Bertie: Crystal Pierce
Carteret: Dennis Fleming
Craven: Nicholas Kusiak
Eastern: Tina Cannon
Greene: Temesha Edmundson
Hyde: Diane Mobley
Johnston: A. Simmons
Maury: Maria Johnson
Neuse: Savanna Brown
Pamlico: Lerohn Linthicum
Pasquotank: Stephen Wall
Roanoke River: Brandon Weir
Tyrrell: David Davenport

Outstanding Prisons employees in other fields included:

Field Support: Christopher “Mike” Wallace, South Central region maintenance manager, became the go-to leader in planning and troubleshooting the installation of air ionizers in all prisons and support buildings. Around 3,600 ionizers were installed in air flows to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  
Human Resources: Demetrius Dudley, a human resources technician in Prisons administration, serves as the face of the HR team, providing an infectious smile, a can-do attitude and an offer of assistance whenever needed, regardless of her full schedule.

Food Service: Andrea Stephens, a food service officer at Wake Correctional, launched a weekly luncheon to boost the morale of custody staff. During the holidays, she and a friend collected gifts and donations to feed and provide gifts to 15 displaced families in a local hotel. She co-founded the Women Working in Criminal Justice group at Wake Correctional to nurture and support women in the corrections field.

Correction Enterprises: Tracey Goodwin, general manager for the Braille, print and license plate operations, stepped up when Correction Enterprises upgraded its accounting and project management software. She created a user-friendly operational guide written in the language and procedures used by staff. Besides preventing expensive slowdowns or shutdowns of production during the pandemic, she saved the organization additional expense by making outside assistance with the software guide unnecessary.

Innovations and Teamwork: Larry Parker, also the Correctional Officer of the Year for Catawba Correctional, serves the prison as maintenance and tool control officer. He created a premier maintenance shop by repurposing a building and incorporating a secure tool control area that is visible upon entry. It allows for a smoother, streamlined inventory of tools, documentation of broken ones and checkout by both staff and offenders.

Newcomer: Jennifer Mace, an administrative associate in the mailroom of Marion Correctional since March 2021, has proven herself dedicated to ensuring proper policies and procedures are maintained. Her passion for keeping things in order and her attention to detail are critical to keeping prison staff and offenders safe.

Manager: Patricia Blackburn, associate warden of Gaston Correctional, was promoted to the position in June 2021, when the prison did not have another manager in place. She immediately evaluated short-term needs and set goals for bringing the standards of living and working at the prison to a high level. She reorganized the storage of tools, keys and security equipment and developed accountability prison-wide in anticipation of accreditation audits from the American Correctional Association.

First Line Supervisor: Tadeusz Spiewak Jr., senior correctional case analyst at Craven Correctional, has been instrumental in the facility’s implementation of upgraded processing of new offenders. He has coordinated the work of staff across institutions, trained staff in the new procedures and took the lead in the prison’s transition within a narrow window of time and continued to be a resource afterward.

Support Services: Donna McAllister, administrative associate at Anson Correctional, has proven to be an invaluable asset to prison operations. She has taken on varied responsibilities in the midst of staff shortages, willing to assist any way she can.

Programs: Michelle Williams, a correctional case manager at Albemarle Correctional, is a former correctional officer who assists the custody staff as needed. Her background comes in handy for her present job, as she has made it possible to have contraband removed from the facility and blocked from entering. She also helped to remove a corrupt staff member from the ranks.

Health Services: Renee Cordiero, currently a nurse at Harnett Correctional, was nominated for her previous work at Sanford Correctional. She was instrumental in preventing the spread of COVID-19 through the prison through her education of offenders and new transfers on the importance of vaccinations. She has also helped to keep the prison running efficiently through her same-day filing of paperwork for offender duty assignments to the kitchen.

Photos from the awards ceremony can be found here.

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