SPRINGFIELD Jackie Peters applied for a prison job just so someone would quit pestering her about it.
“I was living in Irene, and my stepson had a friend who was working (at Mike Durfee State Prison) in Springfield. He was always hounding me about getting a job there,” she said.
“I said, Are you kidding me? There s no way I was going to work in a prison, and there s no way they re going to hire me. I m 40 years old, a female, and they would have to hire me at first for a job at the Hill (state penitentiary in Sioux Falls). But I told him that I would try so he would get off my case.”
She was wrong about the outcome. She was hired in January 1993, working the cell areas and guard towers at the penitentiary. She had already shown her ability to break new ground when she joined the National Guard
“I believe I was I was the first woman to join the South Dakota National Guard,” she said. “They started accepting women Oct. 1, 1973, and I joined Oct. 13, 1973. I stayed in the Guard until 1987.”
When she was hired for the Sioux Falls prison job, Peters informed officials she would be interested in working at the medium-security facility in Springfield, closer to her hometown of Avon.
“They had an opening at Springfield, and I got a job there shortly after I started in Sioux Falls,” she said. “I m not sure, if I had stayed in Sioux Falls, if I would have remained (in corrections) that long.”
A quarter-century after she was hired, Peters will retire June 8 from a career that has seen her rise through the ranks. She now works as the MDSP tool-and-key control sergeant. A formally trained locksmith, she is entrusted with all the prison s keys, keeps them in good working condition and maintains a regular inventory.
She joined the MDSP staff in the early years after the former college was converted into a prison in 1984. She served there when the facility was co-ed and later converted to an all-male facility.
As part of that conversion, she helped with the start-up of the women s prison in Pierre. During the course of the special assignment, she found herself in the unlikely role of eating crab legs at then-Gov. Bill Janklow s mansion.
“Before the women s prison was built, I took female trustys to Pierre. They stayed at the National Guard Armory while they did community service work to see if they would fit (with the community),” Peters said. “We had them working at the Capitol and the governor s mansion. For one of their assignments, they served a meal at the governor s mansion. Gov. Janklow was hosting a very official dinner with crab legs on the menu.”
Peters remained in the kitchen area, supervising the inmates. A woman on the governor s staff invited Peters to sit down and join her for supper in another room while the dinner was under way.
“Here I was, eating crab legs in the governor s mansion,” Peters said with a laugh. “I wasn t eating with the governor, but he did talk to me later when the dinner was finished and the guests left.”
Peters would talk to Janklow other times in less pleasant surroundings. She transported inmate crews to assist with natural disasters, where the governor was directing operations with his trademark take-charge manner.
“We had inmates working after the tornados at Spencer and Oglala (in the late 1990s),” Peters said.
The two disaster scenes contained different sights and needs. Spencer, a small town located in eastern South Dakota, was nearly wiped off the map. Oglala, located on the reservation in western South Dakota, saw destruction spread over a wide area.
“When we stepped off the bus at Spencer, I just thought, Oh, my gosh! This used to be a town, ” Peters said. “And at Oglala, a number of people there lived in trailer homes, and tornados and trailer houses don t get along.”
The inmates did what they could to help victims recover lost personal items, Peters said. The prisoners picked up debris, sacked up what was salvageable and allowed residents to claim what remained.
In addition, Peters supervised female inmates trained in firefighting.
“I spent an entire summer in the Black Hills because of continuous forest fires. The women learned everything from chainsaw training to wearing protective gear,” she said. “As an incentive, the inmates normally received 25 cents an hour for their work, but if they worked as firefighters they received 38 cents an hour. That was like getting time-and-a-half pay.
“At the end of the year, if they had done firefighting and had no major disciplinary issues on their record, the governor would give them so many days off their sentence for working on disasters.”
In addition, Peters supervised female inmates who worked on the South Dakota State Fairgrounds in Huron. The one-year assignment in the 1990s saw her drive a busload of workers each week to Huron, where they stayed in the National Guard Armory.
“At first, the female inmates would look around and say, I don t know why they re bringing us up here, we don t know how to do any of this. But they learned it and did it, from repairing buildings, putting up new ones and cutting down trees,” Peters said.
“The guy that was in charge of the fairgrounds tracked day by day what the women accomplished. He also saw their attitude change, how they went from saying We can t do that to I can do that. He said it was probably the best the fairgrounds had ever looked up to that point, maybe because the women would add extra touches when they did things like plant flowers.”
The female inmates also received compliments from fairgoers on the grounds, which further boosted the prisoners confidence, Peters said.
In addition to her special assignments, Peters was one of the first members of the MDSP Disturbance Control Squad. which handles inmate uprisings.
“If there was ever a disturbance at the prison, we had a calling tree for contacting the members. You would suit up in your helmet and grab your shield and baton, if you needed to take any action against inmates who were being unruly and didn t listen,” she said.
“Eventually, I was commander of it. The squad was limited to people who offered to be on it. You applied, they determined if you were physically fit enough, and we had training once a month. I ve been sprayed with pepper spray and tear gas (as part of the training), but I was never tazered.”
The only major disturbance came during the “salad riot,” when MDSP inmates protested over the salad bar and other food service offerings.
“It was over in a day, a day and a half. It didn t take long,” she said. “The facility was surrounded by law enforcement and highway patrol, but they stayed on the outside while we were on the inside.”
In addition to her other duties, Peters maintains MDSP operations policies and has developed a record-keeping system for fire deployments, which lists 1,707 male and female inmates who have gone through firefighter training.
She has worked the entire gamut of corrections, from all men and all women to a co-ed prison to juveniles. The latter came while the State Training School operated in Plankinton.
Peters has seen the Springfield prison change tremendously over the years. Besides changing from a co-ed to all-male facility, the prison has added a barracks unit allowing the former population of 800 inmates to increase to around 1,250.
MDSP has sought to prepare inmates for the outside world and help them prevent a return to prison through vocational, academic, religious and cultural programs; counseling and substance abuse programs; and other innovations.
The prison has seen a major change outside its fences.
During its early history, MDSP had only the Missouri River to the south, cutting off one escape route for inmates. The Chief Standing Bear Memorial Bridge was built in the 1990s between Running Water and Niobrara, Neb., spanning the river and linking the two states.
Rather than think of the bridge as an escape route, MDSP has found it as a valuable link to a large pool of prison employees in northeast Nebraska, Peters said.
“The bridge has helped us immensely in terms of staff,” she said. “We have a lot of staff who come from Nebraska that we didn t have before the bridge, when they had to go around Yankton or Pickstown. Now, we have a lot of those Nebraskans as really good staff members.”
And it s those people both staff members and inmates that she will miss when she retires in just a few days.
“I surprised myself when I applied for that first job and got it. I thought, There was no way on God s green earth I was going to get it, ” she said. “But I got it, and I shocked myself. I enjoyed just about every aspect of it. I m going to really miss the people. The time has gone so fast, and I wouldn t trade it for the world.”
As she prepares to depart the prison, Peters hopes she helped others find a better path along the way.
“Now, I can look back and say, I did make a difference in someone s life,” she said.
Follow @RDockendorf on Twitter.
Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman bodyshamed at US airport by security guard who said ‘she didn’t look strong enough’
WHERE ARE YOUR MUSCLES?
Aly Raisman turned to Twitter to vent her frustration about the comments
OLYMPIC gymnast Aly Raisman has claimed she was bodyshamed by a US airport security staff member who said she didn t look strong enough. The gold medal winner said a male worker stared at her before saying I don t see any muscles after a female colleague recognised her.
Raisman turned to Twitter to vent her frustrations
Aly, 22, turned to twitter to vent her frustrations at the sexist worker saying the encounter left her feeling uncomfortable . The American gymnast tweeted: Lady at TSA: Gymnast? I recognised u by ur biceps Man at TSA: I don t see any muscles & continues 2 stare at me How rude & uncomfortable.
I work very hard to be healthy & fit. The fact that a man thinks he judge my arms p***** me off I am so sick of this judgemental generation.
SINGING THROUGH THE TEARS
Thousands of mourners break into Oasis anthem Don’t Look Back In Anger after minute’s silence in Manchester… as vigils are held across Britain in honour of terror victims
VICTIMS OF TERROR
Last of the 22 Manchester bombing victims is named as 15-year-old Megan Hurley – here are their stories in full
BANK HOLIDAY TERROR FEARS
NHS chiefs warn trauma centres across the country to prepare for terrorist attack
THE FALLOWFIELD BOMB FACTORY
Cops find bombmaking workshop in attacker Salman Abedi s Fallowfield home with enough material to make MORE devices
bomber puts the bins out
Manchester bomber Salman Abedi is filmed taking his rubbish out in a robe and sandals
JIHAD WIFI HALTS FLIGHT
Pilot refuses to fly packed airplane because passenger labelled his own wifi Jihadist Cell London 1
pippa ebay rage
Pippa Middleton takes legal action after menus from her star-studded wedding were put on eBay for 500
Donald Trump shoves his way to front of Nato group barging a world leader out of his way in bizarre video
The Queen reveals anger at Manchester suicide bomber as she visits hospital to meet child victims and hero medics
MY FIGHT TO SAVE SAFFIE
Brave first-aider relives moment he held dying girl in his arms and told her ‘you’ll be OK’
BIG SAM PAL killed
Sam Allardyce’s close friend was killed in Manchester bombing – and he quit Crystal Palace hours after finding out
WORLD UNITES IN GRIEF
Monuments around the globe light up in red, white and blue of Union Jack in tribute to Manchester victims
RAF crew in Middle East scrawl ‘Love from Manchester’ on the side of a Hellfire missile destined for ISIS savages
Japanese porn star Kohey Nishi, 24, is just 3ft 6in tall and dominates the country’s X-rated movie scene
leaving a sour taste
Gary Lineker poses with Adam Johnson, Harold Shipman and STALIN as Walkers selfie upload stunt is hijacked by online jokers
Pupils in floods of tears after being told to leave school without seeing their parents in fake scenario
Man finds massive huntsman spider the size of half a brick clinging to the outside of his house
‘I’M HAVING SO MUCH FUN’
Heartbreaking last text of blast victim Olivia Campbell, 15, to her boyfriend from Ariana Grande concert
Manchester bomber Salman Abedi phoned his nuclear scientist mum before deadly suicide attack
WAS THERE A BACK-UP BOMBER?
Circuit board found in bomb detonator suggests someone was ready to trigger explosive remotely
If u are a man who can t compliment a girls [muscles] you are sexist. Get over yourself. Are u kidding me? It s 2017. When will this change?
He was very rude. Staring at me shaking his head like it couldn t be me because I didn t look strong enough to him? Not cool.
Fans were quick to praise Aly for speaking out. One said: Ask him where he keeps his Olympic Gold Medals. Another added: He probably DID see your muscles and felt threatened by them, so he had to put you down to make himself feel better.
A third added: He represents the TSA, you represent the USA now who s better?
Raisman is a two-time Olympian with three gold medals
Aly is a two-time Olympian and three-time gold medal winner who has also competed in Dancing With the Stars.
A spokesman for the American Transportation Security Administration said: We conduct screening at security checkpoints when departing from a U.S. or U.S. territory airport, and it appears that Ms. Raisman was travelling from a foreign airport.
We have reached out to Ms. Raisman via Twitter, requesting more details of her experience.
If the incident occurred at any of our security checkpoints in the U.S., we look forward to hearing from her to look into this further.
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Twenty years ago, I thought I was pretty smart keeping up with technology. I previously put this in the Osoyoos Times. The love of the fax machine, people ask me how I can afford a fax machine; mine cost me $648. You can get them in the dumpster now. It cost me 49 cents to fax Thompson, Manitoba, from B.C and 37 cents to Moose Jaw. Excuse me then, Canada Post and B.C Tel for sharing this with everybody what is our postal, then 46 cents plus G.S.T and how long does it take for our mail to get from A to B, if it gets there? Now it is $1. Every time the postal goes on strike, they are striking them right out of a job, now that we have email, texting, and all the rest of the ways of communication.
I was sitting at our Friendship Center in Prince George looking for my G.S.T. Now I am playing telephone tag: press one for English, two for French, then I get to listen to Whitney Houston screaming in my ear for five minutes. I thought why am I sitting at the Friendship Center, I will just walk down to Revenue Canada and talk to a real person, wrong. Fred the security guard, sends me to the telephone. I said I just listened to that song at the friendship center, and I still don t like Whitney Houston. Now Revenue Canada has closed the doors altogether. We are told to go online. Again, more people jobs. In the near future there will no longer be Service Canada. When you go to Service Canada, there is a big sign that says, Why stand in line, when you can go online. Again, more people jobs.
We like people contact, not everyone is a computer genius. Online banking, automatic deposits are very convenient, but will this mean less bank tellers? I seen this on the funniest videos, a lady texting, and walks right into a manhole. I seen it in Prince George, another one texting across a red light, damn near got run over. I myself damn near got run over when a lady was yapping on her cell phone while she was driving. We had a job fair at the Coast Hotel, it was great, People contact. The military had a booth, R.C.M.P had a booth, tourism, Prince George Correctional Service, security companies with all the work that is going on there, Tim Horton s had a booth, Canfor, there were two young men at the Canfor booth, they handed in their resume. Can you fellows start on Monday, you bet we can. People contact. Do not email your resume or fax it, I myself have owned two businesses. I kind of like to see the person. I owned a small newspaper, these jobs will also be gone from the paste-up department to the printers to the paper boys. Some people like to pick up and read a newspaper.
I see the younger generation who graduate and don t know math without a calculator, they don t know how to spell without the spell check. Let s get our face out of all this technology and smell the coffee once in a while. I wonder everyday if all the computers went down, IPod didn t work or cell phones, would the world come to an end?
We need backup to today s system. I would like my reader to give their experiences with this issue. Let s have a family reunion without all cell phones, IPods and laptops. This would be great.
Crystal Clear, Oliver