A group of Thomas College students are getting a taste for the corrections field with a summer internship program at the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office.
Earlier this month, six students and two recent graduates attended six weeks of training at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro.
“It should be noted that even though a lot of us are interns, we are doing the same exact job as full-time corrections officers,” said Tyler LeClair ’18, President of Thomas College’s Criminal Justice Club.
At the end of the summer, the interns are given the chance to continue working at the Kennebec County Jail part-time or full-time while they are back at Thomas.
LeClair said he is thankful for this opportunity, and he hopes it helps him narrow down what he wants to do after graduation.
“This is not for everyone. It’s very challenging work, but it is also very rewarding.”
LeClair said he has enjoyed his time at Thomas College so far and is looking forward to his junior year.
“I love the small community feel. As a Resident Assistant last year, I got to know a lot of staff and a lot of students,” he said. “Your professors know you on a personal basis. We all support each other.”
Daisy Provost ‘18, is entering her second year at Thomas College this fall, and is part of the three-year advanced-track political science program.
She decided to participate in this internship not because she wants to be a corrections officer, but because she is taking a different track.
Provost plans to go into the military after she graduates, and eventually hopes to have a career in politics.
“I believe that you can’t lead a country until you serve a country,” says Provost.
The 20-year-old is the only female currently interning with the Kennebec County Jail program. But she isn’t fazed, and said the other women she has met in the field have been very supportive. She is also happy to have her friends from Thomas going through the program with her.
“It’s really nice to go from an academic setting with them to be actual real back-up for each other.”
Provost is thankful for her professor, John Majewski, who helped her get into the program.
“He was a little skeptical about me doing this and very fatherly like. It was really sweet of him to be concerned but he also helped me to get the accreditation for it.”
Chase Horton ’16, one of the alumni who just graduated from the Academy, is already working full-time at the Maine State Prison.
Horton, who studied Criminal Justice at Thomas, says you don’t know what you like until you try it.
“Corrections is one of those fields that nobody knows much about because it’s very behind closed doors,” he said. “I didn’t really know much about it besides courses, but you can only learn so much from a book.”
Horton said all of his professors at Thomas, such as Professor Mark Marsolais, went out of their way to help him, and his fellow classmates, achieve success.
Horton said Professor Steve Dyer was also a good person to go to for advice.
“He is one of those guys who will give you the cold, hard truth but also reinforce the fact that just because something doesn’t work out doesn’t mean it’s a failure. You’ve got to try it to know what you like.”
Horton, from Saco, Maine, said it was an easy transition for him from high school to Thomas because of the small community and class sizes.
Horton said he enjoyed being a part of the Criminal Justice Club, where they volunteered as well as did ride-alongs in different states such as Worcester, Massachusetts.
Horton said he doesn’t know if he will end up staying in Maine or going to a larger state, but he is very excited to be working at the State Prison.
“I’m always open for adventure and new things. I don’t know where I will end up, but here is my starting point.”