Correctional officer, Hutchins State Jail
“I kept wanting other positions where I work — I’ve been a correctional officer at the Hutchins State Jail for 11 years – but for every job, I had to have 30 hours or more of college credit. My mom kept trying to talk me into going back to school but my husband was in school, so I kept saying I’d go back when he finished. And she said, ‘Don’t wait.’
“My mom, Debra Cain, is also earning her associate degree at Cedar Valley and one semester when she was registering, she brought me to the college, handed me the paper and actually stood in line with me. I guess you could say I came naturally to the Texas Department of Corrections; my mom worked in inmate records and then was a correctional officer and took us on a unit tour when I was 18.
“I was working somewhere else but ended up breaking my ankle and my job only paid for three days of sick leave. My mom pointed out that if I worked at the TDOC, I’d have more leave and benefits as well as a stable job.
“What do I like most about my job? The fact that I can be a part of changing someone’s life. Sometimes all they want is someone to listen.
“And my advice for working and going back to school If you’re going to work full-time and go back to school, always have a good support system in place – it makes it all easier. When you have a dream or a goal, press for it. Don’t just put it on the back burner.”
LaTasha Maston is earning an associate degree in Criminal Justice from Cedar Valley College.