My name is Terry Gaines I came to the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) in 2011. With a sentence of life without parole, I thought all I would be able to do was work in the kitchen or be a janitor. However, in 2012 I went to Limon Correctional Facility (LCF) were I was able to have my first experience with Colorado Correctional Industries (CCI) in the Garment Factory. At the time, though I was still trying to process having a life sentence, and I did not fully understand the opportunity I had in front of me. Therefore, I decided to leave for a couple years. However, as I started my journey to repair the harm I caused so many people, life started looking different. My mind was changing, and my thinking matured. I finally realized how much of an opportunity it was to work in CCI, so I went back and worked hard because I felt I needed to prove myself for leaving the first time. Then I started getting better positions.
I worked my way to the flag line where we made all the Colorado and American flags that are out front and inside most buildings in Colorado. I started having a sense of pride in what I did, and, since I only have one life, I looked at it as a real job and not just something I was doing in prison. This is my place of employment, and since I made the choice to commit a crime and come to prison, to look at it any other way is not being my authentic self. I ended up leaving LCF for a progressive move, and when I came to Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility (CTCF) I was able to have another opportunity at CCI in the Tag Plant.
Right now I am the UPS Shipping Clerk and have been out here for two and a half years, and everyday is a blessing. The staff leadership here is amazing, and they are supportive when it comes to me being involved in positive programs like Restorative Justice (Best Program Ever!!!), DU PAI, G.R.A.A.C.E, Inside Out Dads, and the list goes on. Taking pride in what I do has helped me build better relationships with staff and residents here.
Finding the beauty in the journey of incarceration was very hard, however, it started with me taking responsibility for my crime and practicing active accountability. I do that by showing up to work everyday, treating people with respect, and letting them know that they matter and so does the work they do. I take pride in this organization, because at the end of the day... I AM CCI.