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Tennessee juvenile careworker goes one-on-one with his kids.

For Kenneth Hudson, a correctional counselor at Shelby Training Center in Memphis, Tenn., the young people he works with matter most--and his career reflects his concern.

"These troubled kids need a good role model--and I have a vested interest in helping young black males," Hudson says. "I establish a good rapport with most of the kids who come here and they seem to enjoy talking with me. I show the kids that I care about them."

Hudson talks one-on-one with the residents about the effect of their crimes on the victims, the community and their families, and strives to make each of the 25 residents he counsels want to change. He stresses that they need to take responsibility for their actions and urges them to come up with solutions to their problems. His goal is for them to make informed decisions about the future.

"If I can help just one succeed, I feel rewarded," he says. "I may not be able to change all the kids, but if I can reach one and help him make positive decisions for changes in his life, I think my job is well-done."

In addition to his counselor duties, Hudson serves as chairman of the center's WorkWise! Committee, which works to reduce work-related accidents. During the past year, the facility showed a 427 percent improvement over the previous 12 months.

Hudson also serves as an instructor of cultural awareness for new employee orientation classes. And as a member of the Juvenile Judges and Court Services Association, he helped bring information on law-related education to the center's residents.

After receiving a bachelor's degree in social work from Jackson State University in Mississippi, Hudson began his career in 1986 as a resident supervisor at Tall Trees, a minimum security juvenile facility in Memphis, Tenn., run by Corrections Corporation of America. In July 1988, he was promoted to shift supervisor, a position he held until September 1989, when he left to join a local school system as a teacher's aide.

He soon realized that his personal impact on the lives of young people would be greater in corrections. In March 1990, he returned to Tall Trees. The following November, Hudson became a counselor at Shelby Training Center. Hudson was named by CCA as its 1992 Employee of the Year.

Hudson is considering university graduate programs and hopes to earn a master's degree in social work.

A letter Hudson recently received from a parent of a former resident shows how much Hudson influences the kids he counsels. The letter reads: "I want you to know how much we appreciate everything you've done for Demetrius during his stay at STC. He said that your counseling gave him a better outlook on life and something much more challenging and educational to look forward to. He has matured tremendously."

For Hudson, that's what his job is all about.

Lynn Schramek is director of employee communications of the Corrections Corporation of America.
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Title Annotation:Best in the Business; Kenneth Hudson of the Shelby Training Center
Author:Schramek, Lynn
Publication:Corrections Today
Date:Jun 1, 1993
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