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Redemption for the Future

July 24, 2019

By Tim Kelly

DOC Communications

(Tim Kelly, DOC Communications)

AIRWAY HEIGHTS – After 21 weeks a group of men at Airway Heights Corrections Center is now celebrating their graduation from The Redemption Project course. The class is taught to incarcerated participants with the objective to learn from past mistakes and prevent new crimes after release. The main goal is to promote a violence-free culture in a correctional facility.

“I really enjoy when you see the little a-ha moments. Week two is their spider web, that is usually when you see a lot of the inmates say, ‘Oh my gosh, that was amazing! I never knew my crime affected so many people’ and really starts to do some self-reflection,” said coordinator Elizabeth Wright.

The class of 59 participants, divided into different groups, has been at Airway Heights for three years. The curriculum focuses on four components: reentry, education, community and violence prevention. Inmates do not have to be infraction-free to join, but must commit to remain infraction-free during the course. A unique part of the class is that it is led by the inmates.

“It feels good because I was already on that path to change and Redemption gave me a whole lot more to add to my toolbox,” said participant Ronnie Archibald.

Having The Redemption Project as part of the curriculum within the correctional system helps the department in its mission to improve public safety by facilitating growth and behavioral change. Staff are also involved with the program to bring a different perspective to the class. Along with the staff participation, family and friends were able to join the graduation festivities.

“Watching them graduate, they feel such a huge sense of accomplishment and when they get their loved ones that are here to witness it, it means so much to them, said Wright.