By Judith Cameron Seniura
Commissioners highlighted the challenges met by the Adams County Adult Correctional Center (ACACC) staff at Wednesday’s meeting, beginning with a proclamation to announce Corrections Office Week May 7-13.
“I am honored to be here to remind them there are a thousand small successes they are responsible for every day,” said Katy Hileman, ACACC warden. “The correctional officers and employees at ACACC excel at conducting themselves in a manner that provides for a safe, secure, and humane environment. The field of corrections in the United States continues to grow, change, and progress. I am grateful to know that the team of professionals who work at the ACACC is dedicated to leading the charge toward that change.
From teachers and mentors to role models and rule enforcers, the staff at the ACACC strive to fulfill their responsibilities in a challenging environment. Most of their interactions occur in a less-than-ideal setting, with people who do not wish to be in that environment. This requires a Correctional Officer to persevere through an uphill battle to gain respect, trust, and compliance from the individuals they are tasked to provide care, custody, and control for,” she added, noting that if the work is successful, they are unlikely to see that person again.
Commissioner Marty Qually acknowledged his guilt for stereotyping inmates at one time. “But, they’re not characters in a movie,” he said.
Commissioner Phiel said that often the work performed by the ACACC is “undervalued and underrecognized. “As difficult as the job can be some days, I hope you realize you have performed a vital service to the community.”
The commissioners later adopted Resolution No. 4 of 2023 authorizing the transfer of supervision of the Adams County Community Re-Entry Facility to the county. “That means the work release program is back under the jail’s supervision,” explained county solicitor Molly Mudd. It has been under the purview of the courts since 2007.
Warden Hileman said she had been searching for and targeting staff who wanted to be champions of change as she introduced the team working under Captain Darrell Smith’s supervision. “The goals of the program are to support and assist eligible offenders to obtain gainful employment and to prepare those who are seeking employment for fundamental career-related activities such as GED preparation and testing, resume writing, interview skills, and professionalism in the workplace,” she added.
The work release program will focus on a smooth transition to provide participants, community partners, and employers with the best service. A new program, Transitions to Success, is a response to the goals. An alternative method to traditional corrections, individualized case planning, and treatment programming is expected to target the risk factors that are known to contribute to recidivism and support successful reintegration into the community post-release.
“We will be targeting first-time offenders,” Hileman said, who expects Transition to Success to begin around July 1. Hileman is hopeful that the new program will reverse the recidivism rates, reducing new crimes committed in Adams County.
The commissioners proclaimed May as Motorcycle Awareness Month as an estimated 800,000 riders take to the road with the promise of nice weather. “It’s a reminder to all motorists to be alert and share the road with us to help keep us safe. To Look Twice, Save a Life”, according to Sonja Mauk, Public Relations Officer for Alliance for Bikers Aimed Toward Education (ABATE) and Mason Dixon Chapter Secretary, “It’s also a reminder for riders to ride safely and take advantage of the free training offered by Pennsylvania’s Motorcycle Safety Program.” ABATE of Pa represents motorcyclists throughout the state, at the legislative and local level, where programs such as Operation Save-a-Life provide education through driver education.
National Prevention Week
Recognizing the work of the Center for Youth and Community Development, commissioners proclaimed May 7-13 as National Prevention Week. In observance of prevention week, CFY will highlight local efforts to support substance-free youth and support positive youth development.
“What you do to help change young people’s lives pays off in the future – gives them a different choice. We appreciate what you do,” said Commissioner James Martin.
CFY Hispanic Community Coordinator Griseydi Castaneda and Nate Sterner, Director of Youth Prevention and Strategic Innovation Initiatives, thanked the commissioners for supporting their endeavors to help Adams County youth who face mental health and drug abuse challenges.
CFY offers a variety of programs, including a free academic afterschool program for students in grades K-12 and Strengthening Families, provided for parents and youth ages 10-14 in both English and Spanish.
Community Development Block Grant
Commissioners approved agreements that will provide nearly $132,500 to the borough of Gettysburg for streetscape improvements and ADA-compliant sidewalks on North Washington Street. ADA-compliant curb ramps were approved for the borough of Littlestown in the amount of $98,000.
Other awards included $26,590 to the YWCA of Gettysburg and Adams County for their fitness scholarship public service program, $84,040 to Hoffman Homes, Inc. for a water/sewer improvement program and the Adams County Arts Council, $16,249 for the Healing Arts Program.
Judith Cameron Seniura is a freelance reporter. She began her journalism career in the early ‘70s and has written for newspapers, magazines, and other media in Ontario, Canada, Alaska, Michigan, Nebraska, San Antonio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.