5 questions for ISCC's Greg Wren

Portrait of Greg Wreb
ISCC's Greg Wren retired in July after 27 years with IDOC.

After 25 years, Idaho state Correctional Center program manager Greg Wren is retiring from the Idaho Department of Correction.  EDOC asked him five questions about his time with the department and what his future might hold.

EDOC: How did you come to join IDOC?  

Wren: I started with IDOC at the age of 27 as an Instructor for ICIO's Education department way back in the summer of 1988.  I had previously worked as a high school math teacher, and was already experiencing burnout after only 4 years of teaching in the public school system.  Being originally from Cottonwood, a long time family friend (and IDOC employee at the time), Jim Rehder, approached me to recruit me for the Instructor opening at ICIO.  I of course told him I wasn't interested.  I explained to him that I was burnt out on teaching and preferred to go a different direction with my life.  He explained how working for IDOC would be significantly different than working in public schools and persuaded me to take a tour of ICIO with him.  I agreed to the tour and became convinced that Jim was right.  I accepted the position and I guess you could say "the rest is history."

EDOC: How did the job change you?  

Wren: My employment with IDOC opened up an entirely different world for me.  It seemed that there was at least some room to participate in developing various "projects" at the time, which gave me the opportunity to grow professionally and to work with some really great people.

EDOC: How has IDOC changed during your tenure?  

Wren: IDOC has changed drastically since the summer of 1988!  At that time, ICIO was a "co-ed" facility, housing both male and female timers on separate tiers, as PWCC had not yet been built at that time.  IMSI did not exist yet either.  As my memory serves me, I believe IDOC numbers assigned to new inmates coming into RDU had just surpassed 40000 back then, and there were only 40-some total female timers incarcerated in the entire state.  There were no official treatment programs offered back then, with "Education" being the sole "program" available to inmates.  There weren't even any computers at all in the administrative offices when I first started.  I remember when the first desktop computers (non-networked) first arrived at ICIO and most people didn't even know how to plug them in and turn them on, much less actually know how to use them.  Non-uniformed staff and uniformed staff had severe philosophical differences and barely spoke to each other in most cases back in those days.  In my opinion, I think it's fair to say that IDOC has come such a long way that it's a whole different world now, and despite its many challenges and frustrations, it has obviously changed significantly for the better.

EDOC:  What advice do you have for your colleagues?  

Wren: Remember the REAL reason/s "why" you do what you do.  If what you're doing is moving you in the right direction toward accomplishing your "why" then pursue it with all your might.  If what you're doing isn't helping you accomplish your real reason/s "why" then have the courage to make some necessary changes in your life.  Seek out mentorship from someone who has the results in life that you really want.  Never give up!  It might not be easy but it will be worth it!

EDOC:  What will you be doing next?  

Wren: I'll primarily be spending time with my wife, new baby, and my older children, as well as pursuing other outside interests that allow me to have that time at home with my family.  Believe it or not, we're talking about having another child or two in the very near future and we're totally excited about raising our children together.  We also plan to do some serious traveling together.  It's really all about family, and that requires having control of your time.

Story published: 08/03/2015
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