ADC In The News
Troy Barbush says teaching elementary school children and adults with felony convictions is the same. Barbush, a former teacher in the Deer Valley Unified School District, now runs a training program that teaches adults recently released from state prison how to wire a house for electric. He works at Avondale-based residential electrical installation company Austin Electric, which partners with the Homebuilders Association of Central Arizona and Arizona Department of Corrections to recruit inmates nearing their release date and offer them jobs once they’re out.
There is a victim in every crime -- a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result. If and when the perpetrator is caught, he or she could very well spend time locked up in prison. To some people, that's the end of the story -- the person is off the streets and away from the victims. However to the victim and those close to the victim, it's just the beginning of a new chapter.
For the past 25 years, the state has been using non-violent, low-level inmates to fight wildfires, as part of its inmate fire crew program. Kevin Boyle is one of dozens of Arizona inmates taking part in the Department of Corrections firefighter training program. “It’s an amazing experience to be able to be incarcerated and to get this opportunity,” said Boyle. “The feeling you get giving back, going to a fire, and saving a home - it’s a great feeling.”
With topics that range from bullying to the importance of education to using one’s gifts, Chaplain Dean Rutherford, of the Arizona State Prison at Safford, has been working to guide local children. “The Arizona Department of Corrections at Safford Prison makes it a priority to be a part of the community,” Rutherford said. Rutherford has contributed to the community with a series of presentations to Torch Club members at the Boys and Girls Club of the Gila Valley. In these, he seeks to “share life lessons and encourage the attending youth to stay the right course.
Up on the Mogollon Rim ... is where 20 remarkable women are unshackling themselves from their corner of hell. To reach them, you have to bounce 20 miles along dusty dirt roads through the Coconino and Apache-Sitgreaves national forests. You cross the areas where the Highline Fire scaled the cliffs and charred the forest floor. And then, quite suddenly, tucked away amid the tall pines, you find them. This is Spike Camp 139. It’s a small city of 1,181 firefighters in the wilderness. Inside one pavilion, dozens of firefighters are sitting down to something welcome: a hot meal and turkey sandwiches. They talk wearily of their favorite meals back home, or of reunion. Many know each other from past fires, going back 40 years in some cases. Among the firefighters in this tent, not far from the front lines of the Highline Fire, is an extraordinary crew of 20 women, the only one of its kind in Arizona.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on the inmate fire-crew program operated by the Arizona Department of Corrections: "... Our state is taking the lead when it comes to getting people back on their feet. That’s how to give Arizonans a real second chance - and how to save Arizona taxpayers money while doing it."