ISCI hosts grand opening for Center of Hope

By Luke Kormylo, Program Manager, Idaho State Correctional Institution
December 5, 2022
Graphic summarizes article, shows photo of Dawna and Bethany
Graphic summarizes article, shows photo of Dawna and Bethany

After more than a year of development and hard work, Idaho State Correctional Institution was delighted to host the grand opening of the Center of Hope – Resources for Reentry, a place where residents can prepare for parole, probation, and release to the community.  The Center of Hope is in the Education Building at ISCI.

This endeavor was the brainchild of ISCI case manager Dawna Clemo, who spearheaded getting it off the ground.  Together with assistance from case manager Bethany Ciofalo, the Center of Hope has become a huge success and a source of immense pride for this facility.  For the grand opening ceremony, ISCI hosted staff from across the agency and were honored to be joined and supported by the Division of Prisons Deputy Chief Amanda Gentry and reentry program manager Daina Drake. 

At the Center of Hope, residents can independently obtain myriad resources, all broken down by parole district, to include housing, mental health services, counseling, Veteran’s Affairs services, employment, aftercare, as well as DMV manuals, just to name a few.  

Dawna Clemo described what makes this establishment special: “It teaches and empowers residents to seek resources and builds confidence as they prepare for parole and release.” 

It has been a positive experience for the resident clerks who staff the center; Mr. Ramon Garcia and Mr. Pedro Castaneda have built transferrable skills and experience in working with our diverse population.  The ISCI team is grateful for their hard work in making the center a success. 

It has also been a significant benefit for facility case managers since residents are empowered to help themselves instead of requesting repeated assistance for simple things like applications and forms.

Dawna Clemo would like to let other prison facilities in the department know that all the resources that are made available in the Center of Hope have been compiled and are ready to be “transplanted” – in fact, ISCI would like to challenge other facilities to springboard off her work and establish resource centers of their own.  Please contact Dawna Clemo or Bethany Ciofalo for more information.

In conclusion, Dawna and Bethany would like to formally thank the leadership team here at ISCI, Deputy Warden Jennifer Tyvand and Warden Ty Davis, for supporting and empowering them to make this vision a reality, from beginning conception to finally having the beautifully lit sign fabricated and mounted.  In turn, ISCI is so grateful to have visionary staff whose work will resonate even after they are gone.

This article was submitted by program manager Luke Kormylo, who could not be more proud of his amazing team.