East Feliciana Drug and Alcohol Council tours DCI _lowres

Photo provided by Beth Dawson -- Dixon Correctional Institute in Jackson hosted members and guests of the East Feliciana Parish Drug and Alcohol Awareness Council on June 16, giving the group a tour of prison grounds. Gathered, from left, are DCI Maj. James Ray Wesley, Deborah Thomas, guests Breanna Willis, Jordan Stewart and Melissa Harris, Clarianna Graves, Katherine Scales, Rhonda Torrance, Rickie Collins, Tammy Garig, Jim Parker, Maureen Sanders, Jeff Travis, Ja'Marcus Goudeau, Janice Harvey, Beth Dawson, Cary Quiet and DCI Assistant Warden Jason Kent.

The East Feliciana Parish Drug and Alcohol Awareness Council held its monthly meeting at Dixon Correctional Institute in Jackson on June 16.

Deputy Warden Jason Kent arranged the nonprofit’s visit and hosted a “memorable meeting for our group,” member Beth Dawson said.

During a presentation and tour of prison grounds, Kent told members that DCI opened in 1976 as Louisiana’s first medium-security satellite prison and was accredited in 1993 by the American Correctional Association, maintaining its accreditation since.

DCI is a multilevel institution with a maximum capacity of 1,600 offenders.

The main compound encompasses 1,135 acres of pasture, 428 acres of timber and about 450 acres reserved for crops in and around Jackson. DCI employs a workforce of about 459 employees.

Following the presentation, access to many areas of the institution was granted, including the prison infirmary.

“DCI’s medical unit is unique because it’s the only medium-security correctional facility in the state that has a dialysis unit,” Kent said.

Dawson said members also were told about DCI’s Youthful Offender Program, which is designed to provide an environment where young offenders can develop self-discipline, self-esteem and positive attitudes along with the cognitive skills necessary to re-enter society and be successful.

Case-management plans are tailored to meet the specific needs of each youthful offender and to create or repair family relationships, she said.

“We also learned that all juveniles who are tried as an adult are sent to DCI,” Dawson said.

While touring the facility, a job fair was being held that had businesses and organizations speaking with offenders and offering employment opportunities to those who would soon be released and re-entering the workforce.

The EFP Drug and Alcohol Council conducted the business portion of its meeting during a lunch prepared by the prison.