Thursday, June 5, 2008
Streeter new warden at Marshall facility
By SUE WATSON
Jessie Streeter, former chief of security at the Marshall County Correctional Facility (MCCF), has been promoted to warden.
He replaces Lepher Jenkins, who was reassigned as warden with a facility in Texas.
Streeter is a retired warden from the Parchman facility. He worked there 25 years before retiring with Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). He came to Marshall County in May 2005.
Born and raised in Clarksdale, Streeter attended Aggie High School, then Mississippi Valley State College. He graduated with a major in industrial technology.
He said he never intended to work with the corrections system, but took a job after graduation as a correctional officer at Parchman.
It was there that Streeter saw both an interesting career and the possibility for advancement.
“Actually, I didn’t really plan to stay at Parchman, but the correctional field was interesting to me and after a while my feelings changed,” he said. “I wanted to stay and make corrections my chosen field.”
He was promoted through the ranks, eventually becoming one of four wardens at the maximum security facility - in charge of Unit 32.
“The idea of becoming a public servant intrigued me and the field was promising as far as advancement,” Streeter said.
A father of three sons and grandfather of two grandsons, Streeter said he married his wife of 27 years, Marveline Conners, of Rich, Miss. She was his high school sweetheart.
As the top administrator now at MCCF, Streeter said he has a great staff to work with and good programs for the 1,000-man medium custody facility.
All are state inmates and the facility is at capacity most of the time, he said.
“Our mission is to provide a safe, secure and humane facility and to help foster rehabilitation efforts of the inmates so they can return to the community as a productive citizen,” he said.
To accomplish that goal, MCCF offers alcohol and drug treatment programs, the GED program and a Bible College program through which an inmate can get a PhD. Also offered are adjustment skills and life skills pre-release classes.
The success rate is 95 percent for those participating in the GED program, Streeter said.
“We had only one of 20 students to fail the GED taken about a month ago,” he said.
Classes in the culinary arts and horticulture are offered as well as computer class which includes pre-employment training. The horticulture program includes greenhouse operations, classroom instruction, and upkeep of landscaping at the facility.
The facility offers recreation for resident offenders which includes gym activities, and organized softball, basketball and volleyball games and tournaments.
There is also a volunteer prison ministry offered to inmates.
Streeter said he is very proud of the track record at MCCF. It was the first facility in the state to become accredited by the American Corrections Association.
Streeter is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the facility, but the 200 employees are critical to the success of the prison.
“I am very fortunate to have a good support staff, department heads, and employees to work with,” he said.
He will rely on friends and mentors who have been at his side through the years - including Jenkins, whom he said he calls every day.
Jenkins was loved by the staff and will be missed, Streeter said.
“Lepher Jenkins was a man among men and adamant about the good treatment of the staff,” he said. “He’ll be sorely missed and will continue to serve as a reference to me in my new position.”
Other mentors include those he worked with in MDOC - Emmitt Sparkman, deputy commissioner; Christopher Epps, commissioner; and Robert Armstrong, retired warden.
“I take my hat off to these three for mentoring me in corrections and I still have ties with them as of today,” Streeter said.
He said public service in his role with MDOC gave him the most job satisfaction - particularly when he dispatched inmate crews to distressed areas or to help with natural disasters.
Streeter is the son of the late Guy L. Streeter, a mechanic, and Willie Mae Streeter, a nurse’s assistant.
He grew up in the Brickyard district in Clarksdale with his eight siblings - five boys and three girls.
Streeter is a member of the Baptist church.
Marshall County Correctional Facility is owned by the GEO Group Inc., a world leader in privatized correctional and detention management. The world headquarters is in Boca Raton, Fla.
The GEO Group has 51 facilities in the United States, seven in Australia, two in South Africa, and two in the United Kingdom.
The GEO Group operates correctional facilities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.
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