On Thursday, June 18, the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center hosted a combined graduation program recognizing the accomplishments of ten inmates who made important investments in their future. Joseph Craig, Delonte Johnson, Joshua Mann, Tyrese Roberts, and Gabriel Thomas were the successful graduates of the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center’s second session of the Thinking for a Change program, as was another inmate who was released before the graduation ceremony. In addition, William Anderson, II, Kaixiang Zhu, and three others who asked not to be identified were the successful graduates of the ServSafe® program.
Guest speaker Percy White, III, a longtime juvenile probation officer who has also done extensive work in African American history and genealogy, addressed the graduates and explained the importance of remaining positive and focused. He told them, “When you monitor your thoughts, you become aware of the messages you are giving yourself.” By becoming aware of these messages, they could better control their actions. Mr. White encouraged the graduates, telling them, “You deserve to have a great and wonderful life. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for the people who care about you.”
The Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with Alexandria Probation and Parole District #36, began this Thinking for a Change course in March. Thinking for a Change, also known as T4C, is an integrated behavioral change program for offenders that includes cognitive restructuring and social and problem-solving developmental skills. It is important to note that this program is a vital part of the Virginia Department of Corrections Re-entry Program. T4C is structured to give offenders the tools they needed to start making a difference in their own lives by showing them a different way of viewing situations. It teaches them the skills needed to focus on making better decisions when faced with some of life’s every day challenges. The 12-week program was an intensive collaboration by Denise Costley, the Sheriff’s Office Re-entry Counselor, and Rebecca Dupont, and James Woody, Probation and Parole Officers for the Alexandria District, and the hard work and dedication of the student-inmates.
Five other inmates wore chef’s hats as they were recognized for earning their ServSafe® Food Protection Manager Certification. This locally and nationally recognized certification will make them more competitive candidates for restaurant and food service job opportunities. They completed an eight-hour training program and passed the examination on food safety regulations and concepts. Joseph Weeks of ORS Interactive conducts the training and Deputy Tonya Moss coordinates it as part of the Support Services team.