Posted on June 3, 2022

Hardee CI’s Clarissa Davis Awarded First Louie L. Wainwright Scholarship

The Corrections Foundation awarded the first Louie L. Wainwright Scholarship, worth $2,500, to Clarissa Davis. Mrs. Davis has been with the FDC at Hardee CI since April 2021, serving dual roles as a Classification Officer and Chaplain. She’s attending USF (University of South Florida) to complete her BA in Criminology. She’s also continuing her education at Living Waters Biblical Institute (Cleveland OH), completing her BA in Biblical Studies/Ministry of Arts. 

Mrs. Davis said, “I am so thankful and blessed to receive such an honorable scholarship. I remember looking on the Correction Foundation website and seeing this great opportunity to share ‘Why I Am Interested in Correction’. My heart leaped! I started in 2014 on this life-long-journey in corrections, therefore it was easy to share my journey. I am an undergraduate student at USF completing my BA in Criminology and currently serving as Chaplain and Classifications Officer at Hardee CI. We all know education costs. The Louie Wainwright Scholarship has truly expanded my future and made my dream of becoming an Assistant Warden of Programs possible! Stay tuned the best is yet to come!” 

“The Louie L. Wainwright Scholarship, funded by the Corrections Foundation, represents an incredible educational opportunity for FDC employees and contractors,” said FDC Secretary Ricky Dixon“I would like to congratulate Mrs. Clarissa Davis of Hardee CI for this outstanding achievement. This scholarship will allow her to pursue her dreams while cultivating a successful future with the Department.” 

Board President Mark Redd added, “We reviewed many applications and they were all very good. FDC has many talented officers and employees and the applications we received reflect the dedication these individuals have for Florida, the Department of Corrections, and their service to the citizens of Florida.” 

Named after former Florida Department of Corrections Secretary and Corrections Foundation’s Board President Louie L. Wainwright, the scholarship provides between $1,000 and $2,500 to an FDC employee or contractor who is furthering his or her education and is pursuing a career in the Florida Department of Corrections.  

The Corrections Foundation will accept applications for the 2023 Louie L. Wainwright Scholarship between January 1st and March 31st, 2023.  

For additional information on the Louie L. Wainwright Scholarship, visit https://www.correctionsfoundation.org/louie-l-wainwright-scholarship.  

Mrs. Davis’s essay is posted below. 

Why am I interested in a Career in Corrections? 

In corrections there are so many career paths. I am interested in a career in corrections because it is my passion to continue building my life-long-career in criminal justice. I graduated college in 2014, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my associates degree in the criminal justice field. I started in 2014 volunteering and completing my internship in correctional institutions. I gained such a great insight on the various careers in corrections. Corrections led me to the desire to counsel, I started small groups with the inmates on how to deal with traumatic experiences. This 12-step course sparked a greater interest in my career path. Serving both male and female inmates, I did choose working in a male corrections facility. I learned during my internship there is less drama, and emotional situations in male correction institutions.  

Correctional careers are so vital, so my interest in this career grew stronger as I saw the greater need for staff with integrity. Growing up I watched my aunt serve so many years as a correctional officer. She retired as a correctional officer in Mecklenburg County. I will always remember her dedication. I am motivated to follow in her footsteps and pursue several careers in corrections. In 2015 I started in Lawrenceville Virginia Corrections Facility as a CO- (Corrections Officer). The internship in correctional settings built a great foundation for me. I embraced learning the importance of corrections and why it’s necessary for our inmates to become better citizens. Serving in corrections really encouraged my career path. In 2019 in Bartow, Florida, I was blessed to serve as a Juvenile Detention Officer. Working with juvenile inmates was very challenging.  

Juveniles I worked with looked up to me as a big sister or mother figure. The interest I had for careers in corrections grew stronger. I wanted to make a difference, exemplify integrity, wisdom, and corrected behavior. The juveniles I served had days where they did not want to follow directions, the patience I had and the respect I gave to them, allowed me to see the greater need for officers like myself. In 2020, I wanted to go a step further and bring two of my careers together. Prisons need chaplains. I was ordained and licensed to minister, and therefore I was able to take 2 career interest and merge them together. April 29, 2021, I was hired as chaplain for Hardee C. I. in Bowling Green Florida. The career paths in corrections are limitless! My short-term goal is to become a classifications officer in corrections. My long-term goal is to become assistant warden of programs. There are so many careers in corrections. I look forward to excelling within the department of corrections.  

I am interested in a career in corrections because, I see the need for the inmates. Inmates are punished by serving their time in prison. I take full responsibility in showing each inmate what it takes to be a better person. It is my hope to own and operate transitional homes for inmates who need a safe place after EOS. Continuing my career in corrections is important. I want to continue to gain more knowledge and skills to effectively serve in corrections. Criminology is my current major, and I am learning more about criminal behaviors, crimes, and the consequences of incarceration. Careers in corrections may vary depending on the type of degrees you have. My career path is bright in corrections because I can perform several services in corrections. Social work, Parole, Probation, Correctional Sergeant, Classifications Officer, Warden, are just a few of the correctional careers available.

I currently serve as chaplain in FDOC. Being able to provide spiritual care for the inmates and staff in a corrections setting is such a blessing. Daily services are conducted, classes, small church groups, worship services, baptisms, conferences, in our chapel. Inmates look forward to expressing their faith and beliefs. I never thought about merging my two passions together, and when I did it was the perfect career choice. Chaplaincy in a correctional setting allows you to be a haven for the inmates and staff. Chaplains make visits to inmates who are in close management cells or confinement, providing prayer, hope, and cheer to the inmates. I believe serving as a correctional officer first has allowed me to have a better understanding of policies, procedures, and operations in a correctional institution.  

I realize my interest in corrections career has brought me all the way to where I am now. I am thankful for all the career opportunities I have had thus far in corrections. In continuing my education in criminal justice, it is a very good career path to take. The opportunities are limitless! One of the main reasons why I am interested in careers in corrections, is because of the tremendous number of different careers to explore. I like that in FDOC (Florida Department of Corrections) I can stay in one prison and promote or make a lateral career move. The corrections career system is set up to promote and strengthen you in your career field. I am blessed to serve a large community behind prison walls. I know that one day the inmates I serve will return as law abiding citizens. The career path I have chosen to take in corrections has been so rewarding, the testimonies, and the gratitude shown has truly been life changing.  

In writing this essay I have gained even more encouragement to complete my bachelor’s in criminology. I will continue my interest in corrections and use the knowledge and skills to dig deeper in my correctional career path. I am blessed to serve as chaplain in a prison setting. I do not take these career opportunities for granted. It is my goal to achieve a doctorate in criminology. I want to provide counseling for incarcerated men and females. Provide a safe place for the inmates to come and find hope and change for the better. In conclusion, I am so thankful to serve in corrections and continue growing forward in my life-long-career path in corrections. I am excited for what the future holds. 

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