For two months, Criminal Justice seniors studied the history of prisons, the Ohio prison system and other models from nearby states, and prisons in Scandinavia. They discovered different models of how prisoners are housed and treated, and worked in teams to create their own system, based on an Ohio model.
The team of Daphne Sandman, Franklin; Noah Brossia, Lebanon; Sam Dakin, Springboro; and Ashton Smiley, Franklin; based their prison model on Warren Correctional in Lebanon, which is a campus-style prison. After discussing as a group, they decided to focus on rehabilitation and mental health and included features such as solar lighting, bee-keeping, farming and offering video calls for families who didn’t live close enough to visit regularly. The students designed the model with the video game Minecraft, and it included the main entrance and intake, and areas for visits, medical treatment, reading, education, counseling, farming, food service, and church, along with the four cell blocks. The 300-acre model offers walking paths outside from the cell blocks to the mess hall and farming areas, and has a capacity for 480 inmates, and 240 corrections officers with 80 guards per shift.
They said the biggest thing they learned was how to work as a team. They studied how to reduce the potential for violence and poor mental health, determining that regular visits, either in person or by video calls, windows in every cell, work education, reading areas and a church for worship or meditation would help. Sam said his dad worked in juvenile and adult corrections and he wants to follow in his footsteps. Daphne said she wants to help people and has an interest in becoming a homicide detective. Ashton plans to join the military, and Noah wants to work as a police officer with a K-9 and possibly pursue college to work in the FBI.
The team of Kaitlyn Sergent, Lebanon; Arthur Robbins, Springboro; Rebecca Medaugh, Franklin; La’Shay Strickland, Middletown and Lucas Kowalski, Springboro; named their project “Dos Prison” because they were team number two. They chose to construct a tangible model using mostly cardboard to create all the areas of their building-based prison model. They looked at different prison systems around the world and decided to focus their model on rehabilitation, offering activities for the inmates. They started with a campus model, but then decided to go to a building model with a capacity of 800 inmates and 2,611 employees. They decided to divide the building into sides for males and females, and also cited teamwork as an important lesson they learned together. Their prison includes a church, barbershop, laundry, café, reading and education areas, and a garden to teach landscaping.
Rebecca joined the US Navy, and will leave after graduation in July to begin her career in aviation. Arthur said he plans to continue studying criminal justice, attend police academy and ultimately wants to work in crime scene investigation. La’Shay plans to continue her education in college in criminal justice, attend police academy, and explore her career options. Kaitlyn plans to attend Eastern Kentucky University for criminal justice and would like to work as a crime scene investigator. Lucas learned through this project that he is very interested in construction, and though his original plan was to work in corrections, he now wants to pursue more education in areas of construction such as welding.
“I am very proud of them,” Instructor Jeff Piper said. “The students did a lot of preparing for the rough draft of their plan that they would present as if they were proposing a model for a new prison. They learned how to meet deadlines, avoid distractions, and work as a team. The project was less about the finished product, and more about the journey to get there.”