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Variety Is the Spice of Life for This Captain.

Throughout her 26 years in corrections, Capt. Darlene Percival has enjoyed both a diverse and rewarding career. She has experienced corrections from various angles, working as a correctional counselor, chemical dependency counselor, supervisor, assistant superintendent, unit manager and captain, in both male and female facilities. Her experience in these areas, along with her positive attitude, motivates and educates those with whom she works and encounters each day at the Lincoln Correctional Center in Lincoln, Neb.

Prior to her correctional career, Percival was a volunteer for a drug and alcohol group in a women's prison in York, Neb. When the facility received a grant for two correctional counselors, Percival interviewed for a position and has been working in corrections ever since. "Corrections is the kind of field that you either like or don't like. It grows on you and after 26 years, I can say I still like it very much."

Working her way through the ranks, Percival gained experience in many areas and eventually became captain of the Lincoln Correctional Center in 1998, where she has various responsibilities and faces different obstacles every day. "The ongoing challenge of working with inmates and staff and watching the growth and changes that take place within institutions over the years has been rewarding as well as challenging," she says, adding, "It is very rewarding to see [inmates and staff] change and grow."

Two of her biggest obstacles are motivating staff and being resourceful. Important aspects of overcoming these challenges include maintaining a positive and professional attitude as well as having a sense of humor, taking pride in her work, being dedicated, keeping focused on the department's mission and doing more with less. Some of Percival's duties include chairing the criminal threat group, overseeing shift supervisors, interviewing inmates regarding their questions and concerns, and overseeing the inmate disciplinary process.

Percival works hard to create an environment based on teamwork. "As staff of an institution, we are a team of individuals who have specific duties and assignments, but we are interdependent on one another to complete our jobs successfully," she says.

Training and education are another essential aspect of Percival's work ethic. "The more you learn, the better you feel about yourself," she says. She finds it important to network and share ideas with others, and encourages her staff to be involved not only as participants of training and education, but also as trainers and educators. "Those who have worked in the system a long time have an obligation to train those coming into the system because they are going to be the leaders of the future."

Living by this philosophy, Percival uses her 26 years of diverse experience and strong work ethic to motivate and educate the future leaders of corrections, helping them gain experience from the many aspects of her career.

Elizabeth A. Klug is assistant editor of Corrections Today.
COPYRIGHT 2001 American Correctional Association, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Darlene Percival
Author:Klug, Elizabeth A.
Publication:Corrections Today
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2001
Words:477
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