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Behind bars: Criminal Justice Department tours jail

The Criminal Justice Department at Texas Woman’s University offers free tours of different types of criminal justice facilities periodically.

Less than a dozen students and staff attended the last tour of the Denton County Law Enforcement Center Thursday, Oct. 25. The tour was led by an officer and showed students the different formatting, regulations and routines within the Denton County jail.

“The reason we do the tours is to expose the students to a hands-on and how they work,” Dr. James Williams, professor of sociology and director of the criminal justice program at TWU, said. “Jails are uncomfortable places for people to think about, but they serve a very specific social function.”

During the tour, students were able to see empty rooms, but they also saw inmates being escorted down the hall, correctional officers at work, and working inmates, or trustees, in the kitchen and laundry rooms.

“We try to take students fairly regularly to jail facilities because they’re probably one of the most common point of contact that anybody will have with the criminal justice institution,” Williams said.

Williams asserted that visiting local, state and federal criminal justice facilities is important but considering and earning internships is even more so. Degrees do help with getting internships, and sometimes internships lead to jobs.

Military police veteran and current TWU criminal psychology student Tyler Roady attended the tour Oct. 25

“I didn’t have a respect or love for law enforcement until I got into it,” Roady said. “I fell in love with the field; I fell in love with helping people, and basically trying to do right by my country.”

Roady is finishing up her minor in criminal justice this semester and will continue working on her major in psychology in hopes of becoming an expert eyewitness, working with the FBI or helping to rehabilitate juvenile delinquents. Another group of students will be attending the tour of the Denton County law Enforcement Center Thursday, Nov. 8, and the criminal justice department plans to host a tour of the juvenile detention center in Denton late November and have tours of federal prisons in the spring.

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