Armenian Corrections Delegation Successful Training in Wisconsin

group exercise
Correction officials from Armenia take place in group exercise in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Department of Corrections staff members continued sharing instructional strategies with the Armenian correctional delegation in January at the Madison Training Center. The training topics included demonstrations; role plays; case studies; scenarios, presentations, etc.

The Corrections Reform Program partnership between the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and Armenia started in April 2012, and the ongoing cooperation and training has led to many planned changes for the new prison set to open soon in Armavir.  One of the big changes will be the implementation of unit management concepts and the use of multi-disciplinary teams consisting of social workers, security, and medical staff to effectively manage a prison population.  This group of eight Armenian delegates in Wisconsin now is developing curriculum to use for training correctional staff.

Armenian delegates were presented with the theory, provided an example of each strategy, and then used these strategies in their own presentations. The trainers and delegates provided feedback on both the successes and areas allowing for improvement.

“The delegation has demonstrated both a great interest in how we train in Wisconsin and an ability to adapt some of the methods presented to their own programs”, said Judy Smith, Warden at Oshkosh Correctional Institution. “The delegates are meeting, and perhaps, exceeding their goals for what they have accomplished to this point.”

The delegation of Armenian correctional officials conducting training in Wisconsin became snowbound at their hotel on Jan. 14. Oshkosh Correctional Institution, Madison Training Center and Central Office staff took their show on the road and used the hotel facilities to continue the program there. The group also travelled to Red Granite Correctional Institution for a tour and to experience the missions of the different housing units and the reclassification process. While at Red Granite Correctional Institution the delegation made a presentation to the staff on Armenian culture and history.

Later in the week the group visited Oshkosh Correctional Institution where they made presentations based on what they learned the previous day at Red Granite Correctional Institution. The remainder of the day was spent in activities and discussion related to unit management, multi-disciplinary teams and the strategies that could be employed to introduce and train the concepts to Unit Management.

“Armenia is undergoing much change, especially in the penitentiary system,” said Hamlet Aghoyan, leader of the delegation.  “Our purpose is to learn from the American experience and make that a basis for penitentiary reform. We are very grateful to our American colleagues for this exceptional opportunity; we appreciate the importance as do all the people of Armenia.”