Sylvia D. Williams
Correctional Services Administrator
Sylvia Williams knows all about aliens, and we're not talking about the kind on The X-Files. Sylvia is the one responsible for tracking over 6,000 alien inmates who will eventually be released to the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS). She and her Correctional Action Team won a Davis Productivity Award in 1995 for developing institutional hearings for alien inmates, and she played a major role in implementing the Florida Criminal Alien Program (FCARP), which saves us time and money by conducting alien inmate hearings via phone. Williams, who has been with the DC for 16 years, began her career as a Probation and Parole Officer I in 1980 and is currently a Correctional Services Administrator. In addition to her criminal alien responsibilities, she has served as the department's representative for the National Conference on Preventing Crime in the Black Community for the past three years, which has about 2,000 participants each year. The conference has been recognized by President Bill Clinton, Attorney General Janet Reno and Governor Lawton Chiles as a collaborative effort that addresses the disproportionate number of African Americans who become involved in the criminal justice system. Williams is also an active participant in the "Girl Scouts Behind Bars" program, a volunteer reader at a local middle school, a presenter for the department's "Women Facing the Future" program, president of the local chapter of the Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency, and for the past two years has served as the department' s coordinator for the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run. Williams had so many accomplishments that her nominator had to use a separate form to list them all. Suffice it to say that Central Office and Statewide Employee of the Year Sylvia D. Williams is one talented, hard working, multi-faceted DC employee. Congratulations Sylvia!
Sonya C. Walker
Correctional Probation Senior Officer
Ft. Myers South P&P
There is no higher praise than the respect of your peers, and the fact that a panel of Sonya Walker's peers unanimously selected her for nomination as the Correctional Probation Officer of the Year speaks volumes. Ms. Walker, who is a mentor to a nine-year-old girl as a member of Lee County Networking, was recently appointed by Governor Lawton Chiles to the Lee County Children's Youth Services Board. She has also won awards at the regional level from the National Conference on Preventing Crime in the Black Community for the past three years. Closer to home, Correctional Probation Senior Officer Walker was one of the implementers and is Lee County Coordinator for the Probationer's Educational Growth (PEG) program in Ft. Myers. The PEG program gives clients the ability to further their educations when they have no other resources and few opportunities, and it provides P&P staff with a referral source. This nine-year DC employee has also been awarded the Quality Assurance award by her Circuit Administrator. In her off hours, you may hear her singing the National Anthem prior to Boston Red Sox spring training games. According to those who nominated her "Sonya Walker is a self-directed person who believes that individuals can make a difference. She is particularly adept at taking a project by the horns and making it happen. Her energy, enthusiasm and helpful attitude make her an obvious choice" for Correctional Probation Officer of the Year.
Lt. Terry W. Turner
Sumter CI/Forestry Camp
A Renaissance man is defined as one who has wide interests and is expert in several areas. Lt. Terry Turner, our Correctional Officer of the Year, is such a man. You may find him participating in the day-to-day operations of Sumter C.I., where he has worked for 12 years, or speaking to a Kiwanis Club or group of school kids about corrections, or performing with the Sumter C.I. musical group "Flashback" that he helped organize for charitable benefits, or he may even be coaching a local youth group or announcing a football game. By all accounts, whether he's working, teaching or playing, he gives it his all. His nominator said of Turner, "Lt. Turner has always gone beyond what is required of him, always placing emphasis on the safety of the public, inmates and employees. He is highly motivated and conscientious, extremely loyal and thoroughly professional." His even-handed management style is appreciated by both staff and inmates, as is his ability to prevent problems from escalating by resolving conflicts amicably and quickly. Congratulations Lt. Terry Turner, the 1995-96 Correctional Officer of the Year!
Alberto Perez and Phyllis Brady
The Department of Corrections relies heavily on volunteers to tutor inmates and assist them in other areas such as education, drug treatment and religious study. The following individuals were selected for their volunteer efforts during the fiscal year.
Alberto Perez has been selected Volunteer of the Year for Major Institutions. Perez is one of the founding members of a group of Hispanic, Roman Catholic volunteers who present a weekly evangelization and religious education program at South Florida Reception Center. The program, called Rescate, features three days of evangelization with weekly follow-up. It is presented in jails and prisons throughout South Florida. Perez has conducted more than 16 Rescate weekends and is also instrumental in assisting offenders with their employment, housing, spiritual and other social needs upon release.
Phyllis Brady (photo not available) has been selected Volunteer of the Year for Community Facilities and Probation and Parole Offices. Brady developed a community service work agency bank, comprised of more than 100 sources for the West Palm Beach Probation and Parole Office (15-3). In arranging community service placements for offenders and organizing other volunteers to assist in these efforts, Brady enabled correctional probation officers to dedicate more time to other supervision areas. As a testament to her success, adult and juvenile offenders are referred to Brady by non-circuit courts to obtain community service placements.
Sheila-Rae Z. Mohs
Sheila-Rae Mohs, who has worked as a Special Education teacher at Marion C.I. for the past three years, has been selected as the Department of Corrections' Teacher of the Year. She is described by co-workers as a bright, hard-working, maximum-effort woman of exceptional ability and a valuable leader. Those who nominated her say she "strives to improve the efficiency of her office by introducing many practical improvements. She is generous with her time for students and staff, and willing to help solve all problems brought to her. Her cheerful spirit and intuitive grasp of human nature are attributes which make her especially effective in this position." Mohs has contributed particularly to Special Education at Marion C.I., where she implemented a Career Exploration/Employability Laboratory and a weekly Student Study Team. Among the letters of recommendation in her nomination package was one from a former student who credited Mohs with helping him attain his General Education Diplomas (GEDs) while in prison. "I want you to know that the things you've accomplished in life have really inspired me to make something of myself," he wrote. You are truly an inspiration to your students, Sheila-Rae Mohs, DC's Teacher of the Year!