Gateway Corrections Celebrates 20 Years in Jester

Jester ProclomationOn October 5, 2012, Gateway achieved a major milestone. Our Jester I SAFPF (Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility) unit outside Houston, Texas celebrated a 20 year partnership with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). Gateway has been the only treatment provider for the facility since October, 1992 when the Therapeutic Community (TC) component began at Jester.

This celebration truly was an event, bringing together dignitaries from across the state and Gateway. In addition to our executives, Michael Darcy, Michael Giniger and Becky Douglas, our Board of Directors first Vice Chair Glen Huebner attended and spoke at the service. The Jester team was supported with employees from other facilities, too, including Ron Raeszler who worked at the unit when it first opened, Stephanie Lewis, Mary Stephens, Maggie Hademenos, and Andria Canul. From the state of Texas and factions of TDCJ, in attendance were Jester's Senior Warden Monty Hudspeth, Alma Lopez from Private Facilities Contract Monitoring Oversight Division, Pamela Carey, Simon Beardsley and Linda Cummins from the Rehabilitation Programs Division, Region 3's Director Linda Davis and Assistant Director, Lara Buregess, and one of Jester's first Wardens, now Executive Director of Wyoming's Department of Corrections Robert Lampert.

The ceremony included two former clients who spoke about their experience and gratitude to Gateway for changing their lives. Two current clients were also able to read their own poetry about their hope for a better life. These are excerpts: From Nicholas, "...I want what it stole to make me whole. Miracles work inside these walls, they happen right before your eyes. They're the hand that catches your fall. They're the ones that help save our lives. What Gateway gives is tools and wisdom, how to live life one day at a time. To be receptive and to listen. No long the blind leads the blind." From Michael, "...I no longer view life through concrete thinking, I no longer felt like a ship that's sinking. Being locked up that life has gotten old. I no longer wanna live life with anger as control. There's so much to accomplish on this 9-month ride, I can finally let go of all this false pride....I once had a fear of trusting other people – with the help of Gateway, now I'm my brother's keeper."

The event was commemorated with a formal proclamation from the Texas Senate, thanks to Senator Rodney Ellis, where Gateway was recognized for "exemplary service" and "helping some 10,000 clients at Jester I turn their lives around and avoid lengthy prison sentences." In the proclamation, Gateway was acknowledged as an "outstanding organization...truly deserving of recognition for its exemplary record of success."

In addition to celebrating the partnership with TDCJ, Michael Darcy presented service awards to Larry Douglas and Penny Wong, our 2nd and 3rd employees hired in Texas who achieved 20 years of service with Gateway at the Jester unit.