Joe Steinbock looking surprised after being named the American Jail Association's Civilian Employee of the Year. Douglas County, Nebraska. February 14, 2012
The GED instructor for Douglas County Corrections received an unexpected surprise Tuesday. During a meeting of the Douglas County Commission, it was announced that Joe Steinbock has been named the American Jail Association’s Civilian Employee of the Year.
Since Steinbock took over the program in 2007, participation has grown tremendously. In five years, more than 250 inmates have earned their GED. Steinbock’s boss told county commissioners that he would clone Steinbock if he could.
After the surprise, Steinbock told Channel 6 News that the key to a better life for inmates is to get their education. He said, “When you give people a second chance and let them know you believe in them, you would be amazed by what they can accomplish.”
A former inmate was also there to throw his support behind Steinbock. Jonathan Ritchie says while he was serving time in jail, he was looking for ways to fill his free time. So, he asked Steinbock if he could help and tutor other inmates.
Ritchie says Steinbock’s work has paid off. He told Channel 6 News, "The people I did run into told me not having a high school diploma before coming in lead them to where they had gone. I talked to people about what they would do once they got it. They had good goals, good career-oriented goals as opposed to just bouncing from job to job.”
Steinbock will be formally honored by the American Jail Association in April.