When I found out last Wednesday that Corrections Corporation of America no longer had the contract to operate Gadsden Correctional facility at Gretna, I felt as if an old friend told me he was moving to another city. I had become so accustomed to the people being there and calling on them to support the community and attending the quarterly Community Relations Committee meetings.
For 10 years CCA has been a wonderful partner for this community. Its employees have been right up there at the top when it came to raising funds for the American Cancer Society and the March of Dimes. Just last year during Literacy Awareness Day, sponsored by Literacy Volunteers of America-Gadsden, Richard Crutcher, an administrator at the prison who has been chairperson of LVA, was working with his own family and the prison family. Some of the women in the art class even donated paintings for a silent auction to help raise money for the program.
The stories of some of the women are inspirational and over the years, several of them have invited me into their lives to share their stories with the readers.
On the many occasions I have visited Gadsden Correctional I have never failed to notice the number of people from this community who share their time and talents with the women. Women who show up with baskets of fabric to teach the women to make baby quilts or men from the Lions Club in their yellow and blue vests who work with the women in the restoring old eyeglasses.
I also have a lot of friends and relatives who work at the facility. For the most part they like their jobs and the benefits the company has to offer.
I'm confident that the new company, Management & Training Corporation, will come into the community putting their best foot forward. I'm sure they looked at our community before they decided to bid for the contract.
I've only gotten a few e-mails and calls from current employees who are worried. But like one of the administrators told me, whoever operates the prison will have to have competent employees. And the employees at GCF, he said, are some of the best.
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