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Life Corrections by Tammy Gajewski

December 17th, 2009



During the last six months presenting Collaborative Case Management I have encountered a wonderful and diverse group of people that work in, for or outside the MDOC. The general reoccurring theme was their frustration with the lack of common sense in the department. Yet they diligently report to work and do their jobs 110% everyday. Through Collaborative Case Management training many of the participants shared their purpose in corrections and in life. Many have been enlightening to me and give me renewed hope in the direction of the department.

It was a bright sunny day as I walked in to the training room to encounter a woman crying. She was standing in the middle of the room looking at all the posters around the room generated by the CCM training. I asked her why she was crying and she said, “I wish these skills and methods were more supported and practiced when I was serving my time.” Turns out she use to be a CEO of a huge company and had served time for embezzlement. Her time in prison had been very hard on her and her family. She lost her job, her husband, and her house. Now her daughter was having problems with drugs and the law. We talked for a long time it seemed before trainees started filtering in the room. Later in the week I thanked her for sharing her story with me. I told her I believed in her because I could tell she had the tools to succeed.

Several months later, I she notified me saying she had successfully completed her parole. She had her daughter in treatment and was practicing tough-love. She also told me no one ever told her they believed in her since she received her prison number. It was very powerful to know one comment helped give someone the courage to succeed.


How have you embraced change today?


Tammy Gajewski is an Assistant Resident Unit Supervisor at Baraga Correctional Facility in Baraga, MI. Her opinions do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Michigan Department of Corrections.

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