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Author Topic: New Warden at Decatur Women's Prison sees Opportunity to Help  (Read 5375 times)

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New Warden at Decatur Women's Prison sees Opportunity to Help
« on: February 18, 2009, 08:17:22 AM »
Sunday, February 15, 2009 12:35 AM CST

New warden at Decatur women's prison sees opportunity to help


By HUEY FREEMAN - H&R Staff Writer




DECATUR - Christine Boyd is a relative newcomer to the prison system but has spent much of her life helping people in trouble.

Boyd, 50, a native of Flora, was appointed warden of the Decatur Correctional Center, a prison housing about 500 women, effective Jan. 1. Boyd is the fifth warden of the medium-security prison, which opened in January 2000 on the city's north side.

0"I am very happy to be selected," said Boyd, adding she has been an advocate for females for much of her professional life. "I think it's a great fit to be here."

She replaces Mary Kepler, who retired in December, after five years of leading the staff in Decatur. During her tenure, several cutting-edge programs for inmates were initiated, including one that allows inmates to keep and nurture their babies.

Before moving to Decatur, Boyd served for three years as an assistant warden at Lawrence Correctional Center in Southern Illinois, which recently was transformed from a high-medium to maximum-security men's prison. During her stint at Lawrence, Boyd she visited the Decatur prison and was taken on a tour.

"I fell in love with it, because there are so many opportunities for women here," Boyd said.

Before working as assistant warden of programs at Lawrence, Boyd served almost 15 years as chief probation officer for Clay County, interacting directly with former inmates. One of her accomplishments was starting a methamphetamine recovery program for women on probation.

"We would meet and talk about issues," Boyd said, adding she empathized with the women she tried to help. "It's always been my interest: What is the difference between the life I could have taken and the life these people took? I had things happen in my life, and I could have made some wrong choices. I raised my daughter by myself. Education was always stressed by my mom."

Boyd, who earned a bachelor's degree in education in 1983 and master's in guidance and counseling in 1994 from Eastern Illinois University, worked in the 1980s for Effingham-based CEFS Economic Opportunity Corp., an agency helping low-income people. She helped people receive their basic needs, such as heating fuel and food, and directed an adult literacy program.

Stephen Mange, executive director of the Illinois Meth Project, an addiction prevention group, said Decatur is fortunate to have Boyd, who assembled a powerful coalition to fight methamphetamine use in Clay County.

"She is a very talented and committed person, outstanding in addressing the meth problem," Mange said.

http://www.herald-review.com/articles/2009/02/15/news/local/1039180.txt
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