Corrections warden speaks to Rotarians
Published 4:00 am Thursday, June 4, 2015
Young men seeking gainful employment, Carter Davenport has a job for you.
Davenport, Correctional Warden at Easterling Correctional Facility in Clio, told Brundidge Rotarians Wednesday that there are 92 vacancies for correctional officers at Easterling.
For a 19-year-old who can pass the written, physical and drug tests, the jobs have great benefits, starting around $13 an hour, with full medical insurance coverage and good retirement benefits.
“If you know of someone who is looking for a job, tell them to come see me,” Davenport said.
Davenport was the program guest at the weekly meeting of the Brundidge Rotary Club. He is a native of Brundidge and a graduate of Troy State University.
“I started with the Alabama Department of Corrections as a correctional officer trainee in 1987,” Davenport said. “I’ve come up through the ranks and my current assignment is correctional warden at Easterling.”
Davenport said Easterling Correctional Facility was designed to house medium custody inmates.
“In 1990, Easterling housed 652 inmates, today, we have 1,494,” Davenport said. “That sounds like we are overcrowded and we are but not by as much as you would think because the facility’s paint plant was turned into a dorm for the inmates.”
Davenport said Easterling is a city inside a fence. “Easterling has everything that you would need for a city to function,” he said. “We have medical services with a doctor and nurses, churches for all denominations, dining facilities, kitchens, recreational facilities, school, even a ‘Wal-Mart.’”
Easterling is unique in that it is a tobacco-free facility.
“No tobacco products are allowed,” Davenport said. “At Easterling, cigarettes are contraband. Sure, we have to chase tobacco, but I’d rather chase tobacco than marijuana and other drugs.”
Most of the inmates are serving sentences for drug charges and most of the inmates are not bad people, they have just made bad choices, the warden said.
“Then, there are a few that cause you trouble and they can cause real trouble,” he said. “But most of the inmates just want to do right, serve their time and get out. And, they like to work. It gives them something to do.”
Davenport said most of the inmates, about 70 percent, do not have a high school diploma,” he said. “The average grade attended is the eighth grade,” he said. “If they had stayed in school and gotten a high school diploma, they probably would not be locked up.”
Davenport said there are 31,000 inmates contained at correctional facilities in Alabama and the need for correctional officers continues to grow.
“The doors to our prisons won’t close,” he said. “Thirty-one percent of those released will be back within three years. Overcrowding prisons is not a problem that will be easily solved.”