Warden Nelson touches base with Deputy Warden Ed Fiser of the Coronado Unit in the inmate yard.
Nelson said his first few months have gone pretty well. “There has been no escapes or walk offs or homicides since I have assumed the duties of warden, which always makes a warden’s job a little easier.”
Nelson lives in Flagstaff and commutes daily, but said even though he lives in Flagstaff he feels involved with the community of Winslow.
Nelson is married and has a 12-year-old daughter. His family has always been supportive of his job and he is very grateful for that.
Nelson’s responsibilities as warden includes maintaining the prison staff of 120 people and overseeing all the facilities security, work programs and religious activities.
Nelson said one new thing he has tried to implement while serving as warden is trying to have the prison more involved in the community. He said he is working closely with Mayor Jim Boles and City Administrator John Roche in having the prison become more involved with community activities.
He said during the Standin’ on The Corner celebration, correctional officers helped the Winslow Police Department maintain a safe environment for everyone attending the festival. Correctional officers also helped with the 9-11 Rememberance Garden Commemoration.
Another way the prison is able to help the community, according to Nelson, is through the Inter-Governmental Agreement that the prison holds with Winslow and surrounding areas. This agreement allows the City to use low security inmates to perform work jobs in the City limits at a payrate of fifty cents per hour per inmate. Nelson said the inmates’ most common job is to maintain the roadsides here in town.
Nelson said he enjoys his job and is able to run the prison due to it’s great staff and highly-qualified correctional officers who really go the extra mile.
“Without my current staff, I think I would get into trouble. They really keep me on my feet, especially right now with the prison running short on correctional officers,” he added.
Nelson explained the prison is currently running at a shortage of 22% of its officers. “A lot of officers are asked to work more and assume more duties because of the high shortage. All of our correctional officers are going the extra mile and we are providing excellent security, but we need more bodies to run the prison more efficiently.”
Nelson asks anyone interested in becoming a correctional officer to call the prison at 289-9551 and ask for the Recruiting Lieutenant.