KDOC Staff Train to Help Offenders Transition by Offering a Helping Hand to the Needy
KDOC staff worked on team buidling Thursday while constructing hands for residents of developing nations.
March 30, 2017
KDOC Communications Director
KDOC staff train to help offenders transition by offering a helping hand to the needy
KDOC staff who work to help offenders transition back to life outside of prison gathered for two days of training in Wichita on March 30 and 31. As part of the training event, the staff assembled prosthetic hands to donate to residents of developing countries who do not have access to prosthetic devices.
Staff primarily from the Southern Parole Region that stretches across the lower half of the state gathered for training on how to equip offenders for life post release. Some of the participants work in correctional facilities, while others work in parole offices or in other means of counseling and supervision.
The highlight of the summit was the assembly of the prosthetic hands for the Helping Hands Project. Staff divided into teams of three to build the hands, and for a small glimpse of what life is like for those waiting to receive their newly-built prosthetic hand, group members were asked to place a koozie over their own dominant hands. The team-building activity encouraged the teammates to rely on one another for support and assistance. Upon completion, each team provided a personal note and packaging for the recipient of each prosthetic hand.
“Completing this project as a team was incredibly fulfilling,” said Re-entry Administrator Sarah Barnhart. “Teams came together, showed great camaraderie and completed a task that is bigger than us all. We get busy in the day to day and often lose track of why we do what we do. The Helping Hands Project reminded us all that together, whether big or small, we can effect change. I think that was a message that we needed to be reminded of.”
Staff remarked that working on the prosthetic hands provided some insight into their daily work with offenders.
“Working with other people to make these hands is similar to what we do in our communities,” said Belinda Atkins, Parole Supervisor at the Pittsburg Parole Office. “We work together in partnership with other resource providers to help someone get the treatment and services they need to succeed. We had to communicate, be patient and work toward a common goal.”
Corrections Secretary Joe Norwood joined the event to offer remarks, and guest speakers Jodi Sleyo of the Corrections Institute at the University of Cincinnati and Alex Holsinger, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, provided perspectives on core correctional practices, quality assurance and release planning. Staff also met in small groups to discuss a variety of topics.
“The people we are working with are going to be somebody’s neighbor, maybe our neighbor,” Norwood told the group. “We want to do all we can to prepare them to be successful people in our communities.”
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