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vBEHIND BARS continued from page 18 Preparing For The Outside A high percentage of MDSP inmates struggle with alcohol and chemical dependency, which in turn has led to other crimes, Dooley said. The prison assesses their treatment needs. MDSP serves as a transition, with prisoners preparing to leave the system and enter the outside world. The facility offers job and skill training, along with everyday skills such as balancing a checkbook. MDSP offers literacy, adult basic education and GED classes. In addition, the prison offers vocation classes such as welding, machine tool, auto body, horticulture and auto mechanics. The Governor’s House construction program has become one of the best known — and somewhat controversial — vocational programs at the Springfield prison. However, Dooley notes the homes made at the prison aren’t usually profitable or produced by the private sector. In addition, inmates learn or polish skills while providing safe, affordable housing to South Dakota residents, he said. At the prison, the construction technology inmates build wood cabins for South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. Other projects include boat docks, fishing docks, and kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Because most MDSP inmates will be released back into society, it’s important they remain in contact with family and friends, Dooley said. “They can maintain a relationship with their children and other family members, and the inmates can talk out personal issues that may arise,” he said. Many family members may not have transportation or means to make frequent trips to Springfield for visits, the warden said. In those cases, technology such as Skype has kept inmates in touch with others. MDSP staff members monitor in-person visits and other communication, Dooley said. In addition, inmates are offered religious and cultural programs covering a wide range of faiths and backgrounds, the warden said. “We have fantastic volunteers, and 100 percent of their hours are donated,” he said. The programs cover not only Christian denominations but also Native American, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan and other beliefs. “Here at the prison, we have the Lakota Council of Tribes for the Native Americans,” the warden said. “We have a sweat lodge, and we do allow botanical sage, but they can’t have any hallucinogenic drugs.” While such programs have received criticism, Dooley defends them as part of treating inmates as persons while preparing them for their release back into society. “Most of these inmates, someday they’re going to live down the street (from some of us),” he said. “We want them to be productive citizens when they’re released.” DOC Secretary Dennis Kaemingk generally participates in a weekly meeting with Dooley, Warden Darin Young from the Sioux Falls penitentiary and Warden Brent Fluke of the women’s prison in Pierre. “We talk about issues and keep the secretary informed of what’s going on,” Dooley said. “Secretary Kaemingk is willing to listen to new ideas on the rules and how they are implemented. He’s willing to look outside the box at how we can do things better.” The DOC wants to improve conditions for all parties wherever possible, Dooley said. “We’re always looking for ways to improve safety for the public, staff and inmates,” he said. “We work with rehabilitation to reduce the inmates’ recidivism, or return to prison.” On a number of occasions, Dooley runs into former inmates while in public. “Some inmates ask how I’m doing,” he said. “Others turn and walk the other way.” When not working, Dooley enjoys spending time with his family. “I’m looking to retire in the not-too-distant future,” he said. In many ways, Dooley said he wouldn’t have imagined what direction his career has taken. “If you had told me 34 years ago that I would be a warden, I wouldn’t have believed it,” he said, smiling and shaking his head. vBy Randy Dockendorf Check Out... hervoiceonline Practicing the gentle art of modern dentistry. New Patients and Emergencies Welcome! 1101 Broadway Ste. 105, Morgen Square 605.665.2448 • www.scottfamilysmiles.com Experience Gentle, Personalized Dental Care For Your Entire Family! HISVOICEvNOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017v19

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