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The Laramie County Sheriff's Department Program Section strives to make our community safer by offering a broad array of relevant programs and services which provide those we serve with opportunities for positive change.
Setting the standards for excellence as an innovative component of the Laramie County Sheriff's Department focused on improving the quality of life for those we serve.
The goal of the facility is to provide programs that address inmate educational needs, the utilization of leisure time, and to assist their successful transition back into the community, into their families and work places as productive citizens, in an effort to reduce recidivism.
The need for programs within institutions has increased; it is more and more accepted that simply locking people up is not changing what leads them on the path to jail or prison. The current opinion is to provide a variety of social, religious and self-help education to inmates to help themselves, if they so desire.
Mid 1980's - Deputies Sharron Anderson and Mary Ann Harms started a small library/games service for the inmates in the County/City Jail being operated by the Sheriff's Office.
1984 - 2003 - Laramie County Sheriff's Office Chaplain Corps was created by Sheriff Rudy Restivo. He presented nine members of the local clergy Special Deputy Commission cards. The chaplains provided support to the deputies and the community by assisting in ride alongs and during family disturbances.
1988 - 1992 - Deputy Fabian was appointed as full time Programs Officer for the Sheriff's Office. Deputy Fabian worked on a small church program with community ministers. Deputy Fabian expanded the Programs function when the current facility was opened in 1989.
1992 - 1996 - Randy Hunter succeeded Deputy Fabian as Programs Director to coordinate a variety of programs, not only church.
1996 - 1999 - George Johnson succeeded Mr. Hunter as Programs Director and contained to expanded the programs that were offered. Mr. Johnson maintained a chaplain's corps for the inmates. He grew the church services. He also developed and initiated religious programs such as overcomers, Sunday bible study and AA meetings. He also implemented the first self-help group called Fresh Start Journaling. Mr. Johnson is also one of the founders of Bethel Outreach Ministries, which was formed to provide start up help for released inmates.
1999 - present - Marion Severson succeeded George Johnson. Ms. Severson actively searches out new programs and volunteers. She brought in specific women groups programs to help the female inmate population. Ms. Severson also brought Narcotics Anonymous groups to the jail and added additional three AA groups. A variety of self-help groups were started to include programs during the week and regular working hours. The care of volunteers is important to her and regular phone calls and meetings were established. This resulted in the start of the annual volunteer meeting which was initially only held once per year.
2002 - 2008 - Heather Calvert was added to the Programs team as the need for programs increased within the facility. Ms. Calvert improved the organization of programs. She brought the volunteers in for various meetings and was developed the power point presentation which is still the foundation for the current volunteer security briefing updates.
2008 - 2013 - Colleen Onisto Succeeded Ms. Calvert on the Programs team. Through previous work experience with Community Advocate Response Initiative (C.A.R.I) in cooperation with the Cheyenne Police Department Victim Assistance Program she developed and initiated a new women's program with the support of Safehouse and DFS. The program is aimed at helping women identify abusive relationships and how to get out of them.
2009 - present - John Larimore joined the programs team as a program facilitator. Mr. Larimore facilitates some of the non-religious programs during the day hours. He first implemented new self-help programs developed by pastor Roark such as C.H.O.I.C.E. and positive relationships. When pastor Roark left to concentrate his rehabilitation efforts on those programs in the community, john stayed and started the Truthought Corrective Thinking self-help programs that are currently provided to the inmates at the detention center.
2013 - present - Cathy Watson succeeded Ms. Onisto on the Programs team. Terry Sims was added as a third member of the team to assist with filing and paperwork.
Currently the Laramie County Jail provides seven religious programs, some of them are solely bible studies others are a combination of social and religious principles combined. At this time the jail also offers nine self-help programs without any religious influence presented, such as:
* Anger Management
* Money Management
* Relapse Prevention
* Veterans Incarcerated
* All About Change
* Fresh Start / Journals
* Women in Transition
* GED - Education and testing
* Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous groups
Many of our volunteers work during the day and only have the evening and weekends to volunteer. The volunteers are from various churches and strive to teach about the Bible and Christianity.
There are two rooms available for programs; all programs are attended voluntarily by the inmates once they are classified and in general population. All programs are segregated, one program for men and another for women. Juveniles are not held at this facility.
Jail and inmates are topics a lot of people do not want to talk about but it is part of our society and ignoring either does not make it disappear. As a community we need to volunteer our time where our hearts lead us.
Thank you for your interest.
The Inmate Programs Team