Writing time at the Justice Center

Sergeant Thomas McDowell a programs section supervisor with Sheriff's Custody Department said they are having some positive results with programs that teach the trades, such as plumbing and painting. Painting starts with inmates keeping the cells repainted. These often need it he said, as people obviously have a lot of time on their hands.

Deputy Nancy Kinney who also works with programs said a lot of inmates earn GEDs while at the JC. Other programming includes drafting, office administration, nail technology, baking and more. McDowell said many county citizens come in to work with inmates including Syracuse University athletes.

He also said that the deputies use positive reinforcement. It's not a harsh negative environment. Instead it is professional and respectful. You exhibit good behavior you are rewarded. You use poor judgement you suffer the consequences that have been laid out ahead of time. One's own behavior dictates how one is ultimately treated.

And also consider that any one can end up in the Justice Center. "Anyone who is arrested in Onondaga County comes to the Justice Center if the city, county, town or village doesn't arraign them immediately, appearance ticket them or if the courts remand them back into our custody.," McDowell said.

MU's Writing Workshop

Last week, Part I of City Eagle's Serving Justice covered the Media Unit's (MU) theatrical performance in two of the Justice Center's pods. One was women, the other young men 16 to 18 years old, essentially, two divergent audiences.

The Media Unit's producer/ director Walt Shepperd warned his troupe of performers before they entered 2c, the young men's pod that there will be a lot of calling out, mostly inappropriate language. He was right.

"I'm a murderer," one yells.

Whereas, the women in 3c are more of a lady-like audience and not really motivated by the incessant peer pressure that hangs over the young men.

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