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My graduation but my degree explained in the prime letter Optimus Prime

Happy New Year and a look back at 2010 with gratitude and develop a vision and inspiration for 2011 as a correctional officer.

First and foremost, I want to wish everyone in the CCA family happy holidays in the month of December. I wish everyone gets the best gift of all—a long healthy life. I also want to say Happy New Year to everyone and pray 2011 turns out to be the best year for all of you and your loved ones.

I want to start by thanking John D. Ferguson, Chairman of the Board and the full Board of Directors who have led us with The CAA Way and who have been great examples for all of us at CAA: Donna M. Alvarado, William F. Andrews, John D. Correnti, Dennis DeConcini, John R. Horne, C. Michael Jacobi, Thurgood Marshall Jr., Charles L. Overby, John R. Prann, Jr., Joseph V. Russell and Henri L. Wedell.

I personally believe that 2010 was a time for soul searching and where I see myself 10 years from now. and I truly believe I will be with CAA working my way to be the CEO of our great company and the only way I am ever going to do it is show case my skills at my current position as a correctional officer I have always taken CAA problems at home with me thinking where We can get better cut coast and create a healthy working environment and how we can empower employees are challenging each other to bring the best out of each other every day. One the biggest things that keeps me awake is thinking about how we can provide opportunities for professional growth — give continuous feedback, both positive and constructive; create trust; acknowledge employees’ work; show compassion; and listen.

I am sad to report that I have dyslexia, and it does not matter how much I try; I will never fully be able to express what I am thinking in my brain. The fact that I came from a foreign country and speak 4 different languages does not help. For those who do not know what dyslexia is: It is a broad term defining a learning disability that impairs a person's fluency or accuracy in being able to read, write, and spell, So no wonder, last year when I spent 2 hours writing an email to the CEO, Mr. Hininger did not understand a word I said. But he did pass my concerns through the chain of command, and it was addressed by my Warden Chuck Keeton who happens to the best warden CCA has ever had. I want thank Mr. Hininger for giving me feedback when I passed my ACA  accreditation. I think Damon has a bright future and will end up to be chairman of the board.

As a correctional officer, I want to take a few minutes to look back at 2010. It was a most challenging year at Central Arizona Detention Center; it was a time for many audits which included a corporate audit, an ACA audit and an ICE audit, among others. As a correctional officer, I was impressed with many things that took place during this time, things that helped us develop as a family and meet challenges head on with out fear. At CADC, we rose to the 2010 challenges as a team thanks to one man. I would like to say thank you, sir, for your leadership, for your vision, for your character and for being a man of your word. This man is no other than the Warden of CADC, Chuck Keeton. Chuck, you have brought us together as family and have shown us how things need to get done. I pray you are blessed with a long healthy life because every correctional officer I have talked to feels the same way. Again, thank for all your hard work in 2010. I wish you and your family a Happy New Year.

I also want say thank you to Assistant Warden John Jackson for all his efforts in 2010. Every correctional officer on the floor talks about your honesty and integrity. You set a great example for everyone; you are a fine role model. You have been my mentor through the hard times at CADC and I consider you a good friend. Thank you.

Thank you, too, to Assistant Warden Shannon Clover for hard work during the inspections. In the short time you have been here, your contribution has had a great impact. I think you are a star in CCA! I look forward to working with you into 2012. Thank you very much.

And there are more to thank such as the Human Resources team starting with HR Manager Lesley Connelly. I so appreciate your help when I was faced with a significant career decision. With true dedication, you have shown how skilled you are on many levels and on behalf of everybody, I want to thank you for your love and for making this a friendly facility. I want also want to thank HR Generalist Nazila Raheb for your contributions. Not a lot of people know how hard you work. As an example, you come in at 5:00 a.m. each morning to make yourself available to the 3rd shift; you demonstrate the kind of teamwork we all strive for. Your recent promotion shows CCA has a good eye for talent. Congratulations and thank you very much.

I want to thank Chief of Security Harold Newton for all his hard work and dedication, as well as Assistant Chief Tracey Dickey for her non-stop commitment to excellence.

SR Unit Manager David Thornton also deserves thanks for his never-ending support for achievement in his unit along, with every other unit manger who works day in and day out to get the job done. Dear SR Unit Manager David Thornton, you have been working with me for a long time, and you know me more than anyone. You have been an inspiration to me in a way I cannot put into words. I love coming to you every day. You have challenged me in many ways. I hope you will be promoted to chief of unit management because that’s where you belong. You are a true professional. Thank your for being a part of my career.

Let me add Shift Supervisor Perry to the list for always going the extra mile to make life easier for the correctional officers on the floor. Sir, thank you for everything you do; you are among the CAA finest. Thank you for challenging me to do my best every day. I love working under you and every CO loves working for you. Thank you, Perry.

The thank-you list goes on. I want to thank Shift Supervisor Cooper for being the best CCA has to offer. We love your hard work, your dress code, your never-ending support and lggove for everyone you know. You are a bright star, all yourself. Keep up the good work; every correctional officer loves working with you every day.

Additionally, I want to thank Shift Supervisor Dearman. You are also a CAA shining star. I know I speak for everybody when I say you are truly the most beloved supervisor at CADC. Thank you for all you do to make this a good place to work. You show compassion; you treat staff like they’re people, not employees. Thank you. We love working for you.

I want thank Shift Supervisor Barrajas for being one of CCA’s finest, an example for everybody when it comes to attitude and leadership; he demonstrates constant support and love for the correctional officers at CADC. Thank you. We love working under you.

There are still more people to thank, such as a future employee of the year Unit 2 Ortiz who has overseen my training from the day I begin working at CADC. Dear Ortiz, thank you for helping me develop, for showing me how to communicate, how deal with inmates, how to treat staff with respect. Above all, you have the ability to leave all your problems at the door to maintain a happy state of mind and great energy. Dear Ortiz, you are one of the best things that has ever happened to CCA. I think I will run out of words just describing how great you are as a supervisor. Bro, we love working with you and we love you. Thank you.

I would also like to mention all the assistant shift supervisors who come in day in and day out; they put their lives on the line for us. They work diligently each day to make the facility run smoothly. Among them are Assistant Shift Supervisor Colburn, Assistant Shift Supervisor Johnson who are CCA’s brightest stars at CADC. I thank you both. Assistant Shift Supervisor Edmonson, we love working for you too. I want thank Unit 2 Miles, too. You are doing a great job. Thank you for your efforts. I want thank Assistant Shift Supervisor Capps for his commitment to excellence. Thank for your hard work; it has been great working with you. I have a lot to learn from you. Thank you, sir. I also want thank Assistant Shift Supervisor Omar Pacheco in Transportation. All I can say is that you are too good to be true. You are the most a fair, honest, hardworking person I know. I have lot to learn from you too. Thank you for all you do.

I want to thank all the case managers who work with us shoulder to shoulder. We love working with you every day. Among the best are Case Manager Mills at 500 who has displayed integrity, flexibility, and high levels of professionalism at CCA. Case Manager Gamil, Case Manager Thornton and Case Manager Thomas are also valuable assets to CCA. Thank you all your support in getting me to where I am today. A big thanks to all the case managers in both the front half and the back half—just because of job well done.

I want thank all the correctional counselors at CADC. Among the best are C/C Brigham who is also the sort commander at CADC. I appreciate the help you have given me to better deal with inmates. You have proven yourself to be a great leader. Thank you, sir, and sorry about the Chargers not making it to the playoffs (but next year, 2011, will our year). I think you have bright future ahead of you in CCA. Thank you for all your hard work.

Among the best is C/C is Thornton Jr. who is second in command on the sort team. I think you are among the best CCA has to offer. Thank you for playing an important role from day one in my training as well as your continued advice. I appreciate your attention to detail and commitment to excellence; keep up the good work. I am proud to say we have the best sort team in the history of CAA. I believe no one can match this team in the way they apply The CAA Way to their lives and everyone around them. You always hold yourself to higher standards. WE appreciate your selfless sacrifice, for putting yourself in harm’s way anytime we call upon you. We look up to you to guide us through difficult times at CAA. I wish everybody in the sort team and their  families a long healthy life and a happy new year.  I want thank C/C Wilhite for his outstanding job in 500. I think you are a company star. You have great future ahead of you and thank you for all your support.

And Sergeant Bolenberg, who works in Transportation has impressed me very much. You have been a friend and leader. You know how to multitask; you have seen me under pressure many times and I thank you for your kind words. You are a future Unit One at CADC. Thank you for all your help.

They say the best only get mentioned by name. C/C Barrajas, when it comes to leadership and getting things done, you lead by example. C/C Barrajas takes first place among all the CCs at CADC. I have worked with CC Barrajas in the 1100 unit when we had the females at CADC, and I have to say he taught me how to stay busy and stay out trouble; he taught me how to be a team player with my fellow floor officers. C/C Barrajas is an amazing human being. I think he is a person who is fair, firm and consistent with his actions. Thank you C/C Barrajas. I have so much yet to learn from you in the years to came. I hope everyone does the same and thanks you. It’s always great working under you. Thank you, C/C Lara, for your never-ending support is much appreciated. You have shown me what it means to be a professional and what loyalty means to the staff.

I want thank all the other departments too. Everybody always forgets about STG Investigations Suarez and Lucas. You are outstanding, and I can’t wait to learn from you as well.

Quality Assurance Manager Mike Wallace, I thank you too. I think you have an outstanding personality; you are hardworking; and you have a great future at CADC.

I want thank the Safety Department for keeping us on our toes with all the drills that come out of the blue. Dear Thatcher and Smith, you two are the best.

I appreciate Disciplinary Department Sergeant Victor Martinez. Discipline is an area I want to work on. I think this is where we can implement disciplinary action that will change CCA forever. We can stop all code blues or code reds if CCA implements my ideas. We will never have any problems in any facility if I can develop and implement a new system because I am looking at this issue from the correctional officer’s point of view up to the corporate level. While everybody is looking at this from top to bottom, we aren’t seeing the same thing. I believe in prevention is more effective than the cure when it comes to discipline. We can stop all fights before they begin, believe or not; we have many warning signs. The most evident warning sign is fear, and we have not addressed fear in the training room or in our current setting. I have developed my own methods of dealing with these issues that is currently working. All you have to do ask my unit manger who has witnessed my skills. Or you can just take a survey of the 424 inmates who oversee. I am 100% sure all the inmates will say that they respect me, they see me as authority figure and they have 100% confidence that I can resolve all their issues. They would never dare take any matters into their own hands as long as I am working on the unit. They will say I have psychologically established my authority, and they fear that if they violate any rule in any way they will be dealt with. Above all, they will tell you that I care about all of their issues, and I am professional at all times, that I wish them the best in all their affairs. In short, I have emotional intelligence, and this leads me to the CAA core problem – we are lacking emotional intelligence. This email is getting very long, so enough said on this topic now. I do want to say, however, that dear Sergeant Martinez, you are an excellent communicator. I have worked with you very closely, and you have seen how I confront my problems, how I have transformed inmates and how I have become a role model for the inmates. Thank you for always going the extra mile. When it comes to discipline, you are bright star in the company.   


I want to thank everybody from canteen who work so hard. I have worked shoulder to shoulder with you in the kitchen, and during the inspection, you did an outstanding job. You have shared many ideas with me from creating a better environment to making that transition from canteen to my current role as correctional officer (and a big wage increase). I promise you I will do my best to implement all you have told me. Thank you for all your hard work; we love working with you everyday. I wish you all a Happy New Year.

I have shared many idea with Chaplain Keffer Martin; I am proud of my Islam religion and together we have engaged in some very stimulating discussions. CCA houses many inmates of different cultures and beliefs, and I have a number of ideas related to accommodating the prisoners that will give CAA a big advantage over its competitors in terms of efficiency and inmate behavior. After all, most of the CAA revenue comes from detaining diverse inmate populations.

Now, I want to thank the man who has been working at the CADC facility for more than 15 years, a man who knows how get to the truth, a man who really deserves a thank you because all of his work is done behind closed doors. I want to say thank you to the one, the only—the investigator John Mills. I have to say I have been to John’s office many times, and I think he has the hardest job in the whole world. John does not back down from anybody; he looks out for the best interests of employees and the company. I personally think he is team player; he is not quick to give our disciplinary reports. John uses communication to point out issues that need to be addressed because in a correctional facility, emotions run high. What I mean by that is that we are in the business of dealing with human beings here to care, to house, to discipline and to control which is the 3C’s (care, custody and control) of inmates. All this requires us to be different people at different times. A good example is the chain of command and what people have to do and say thing according to their ranks; sometime feelings will get hurt or confidence destroyed by something inadvertently said when addressing someone. Everybody in the chain of command knows how hard it is, and I think this is where all our problems reside. I think you just need to find ways to move on or forgive and forget, or like I say, turn the page and bring in a new page every time you come to work; don’t take things personally. People in the chain of command might say things that will make us more productive and get things done or they might think your idea will slow them down because they have already thought about it, so my advice is to listen to Warden Chuck Keeton’s words of wisdom: Do your job and everything else will take care of itself.

With that said, I think the Investigation Department is due for makeover.

I want to thank Training Manager Mike Mahlberg for his hard work and dedication. Many don’t know that the company CEO Damon Hinger was a training manger at CADC. He moved up all the way and became the CEO of CCA, so Mr. Mahlberg, you have big shoes to fill. I want to thank you for your dedication. I also want to point out you are one of the few people who truly cares about the correctional officers at CADC and what comes with job. I have shared a lot of ideas with you on how we can make training better, and I have donated a plastic weapon out my own pocket to improve weapons training. It is now used, and it has had a great impact on training performance. I think you are going to be CEO of this company sooner or later. Thank you for your commitment to the organization, and I hope we have you here for long time to come. Thank you very much.

Finally, I want give a big thank you to best-of-the-best the people I love with all my heart, the people who are owners and workers of this company. They are the future CEOs; they will bring necessary changes that will bring in the best working environment where people don’t point fingers at anyone but point the finger at themselves. It’s a vision that I see coming true in 2011. I call the voice of the floor officer. I plan to put a face on all the voices of my fellow correctional officers and issues. I want to put in a voice in the current dilemma we have with the union that has been flip-flopping all over the place. I think many correctional officers feel that the union does not have sound structure. And what I mean is that I have a problem with current regime leading the union in the wrong direction and the dues that we pay that are too expensive. The correctional officer need a say in this issue. The issue is creating an unhealthy working environment, and I fully support the all correctional officers who want change. In dealing with the company, the Warden has kept us well informed as to what has been going on but the union has not. I want make a final ruling on this issue that both parties are not seeing eye to eye because of issues I am not at liberty to talk about, but I know it can easily be resolved. It needs to resolved immediately; if it is not resolved in January 2011, I suggest we have a town hall meeting where the union and CCA can get together in the 500 rec yard and discuss all this. take a final vote and bring things to positive conclusion. When it comes to wages, I think we make good money, but for the sake of competition, we should not make the same wages as FCC. I think we at CADC agree when I say we are better than FCC. We house more inmates, and we do more work, so pay us more—if not in wages then with other incentives such as bonuses. For every department, this one of my main concerns. When it comes to healthy competition, we all want to compete with each other in many levels.

On a positive note, the Union has helped many correctional officers stand up for what is right without fear of losing their jobs. As a former union member, I have to say because of the union support and commitment to excellence, I have been able to speak up on many of the issues that need to be addressed. This email that I am writing now is an example that I am not afraid for my job. To make this long story a bit shorter, the union is not going anywhere; it is here to stay.

My advice to the union and CCA: Don't take yourself too seriously. Lighten up. Often, at least half of what we accomplish is due to luck. None of us are in control as much as we like to think we are.

CCA should pay attention to its competitors, GEO, etc., but you need to pay more attention to what you're doing and implement good business practices as in other facilities. For example, when you look at your competitors, remember that everything looks perfect at a distance. Even the planet Earth, if you get far enough into space, looks like a peaceful place.

CCA needs to always be moving forward.

CCA should never stop investing, never stop improving, never stop doing something new. The moment CCA stops improving our organization, we will start to die. Everyone in CCA should make it a goal to be better each and every day in some small way. Remember the Japanese concept of Kaizen. Small daily improvements eventually result in huge advantages.

I would like to end this with the words of the leader of CAA Mr. John Ferguson. “Our founders were creative, flexible and adaptable, and these extraordinary qualities still guide us today. CCA employees continue to make this company a success through the very same values on which the company was founded more than 25 years ago."-– John Ferguson, CCA Chairman of the Board.

Happy New Year to you all. I hope you all good health and many riches. Everybody, feel free to send an email to everyone in the company because our CEO says it is time to give thanks to each other. Let’s appreciate each other with an email; it won’t cost anything at all.

Next year, I promise to do everything in my power to promote and construct a healthy working environment in which all employees will feel appreciated and suggest or point out all those who want to participate in professional growth. I promise you, by Allah, or God as you know Him, I will show mercy and compassion towards staff and inmates alike.

Your friend and co-worker,


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