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NEWS | April 1, 2015

The Brig's Mission

By Commander J. Michael Cole, Naval Consolidated Brig Charleston commanding officer

The mission of Naval Consolidated Brig Charleston is to ensure the security, good order, discipline and safety of pre-trial and post-trial prisoners, to retrain and restore the maximum number of personnel to honorable service, to prepare prisoners for return to civilian life as productive citizens; and when directed by appropriate authority, provide dedicated facilities for non-Uniform Code of Military Justice detainees.

The NCBC mission statement sounds very official and important, but what does it really mean to our friends and family in the community and on Joint Base Charleston?  In essence, our mission is to instill in every prisoner confined at NCBC the skillsets they need to be good neighbors and responsible citizens.  The goal for every prisoner when they leave NCBC is very simple: get a job, pay your taxes, responsibly raise a family, and don't reoffend.  The outstanding Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Soldiers and civilian staff of NCBC are working to help the prisoners attain these goals.

First and foremost, our mission is to provide a safe and secure environment in which rehabilitation can occur.  The majority of our staff is focused on this aspect of our mission.  NCBC staff utilizes direct supervision and extensive technology to ensure prisoners are where they are supposed to be and the facility remains in a safe condition.

Rehabilitation at NCBC starts with an underlining philosophy: everyone deserves to be treated with basic human dignity.  The staff models this behavior for the prisoners to emulate (the Golden Rule applies).  From there rehabilitation is tailored to individual needs, for example, anger management and substance abuse treatment.  It continues with opportunities for education, religious ministry and personal development.

Extensive job training, the capstone of rehabilitation, is available for prisoners with longer sentences.  NCBC offers eight Department of Labor certified apprenticeship programs: barber, cook, baker, wood worker, welder, graphic design, upholstery, and service dog training.  The success of our methodology is shown in our exceptionally low recidivism rate.

We as leaders have a responsibility to ensure those under our charge grow personally, professionally and patriotically.  I know that due to the leaders in my career and the opportunity to serve with many wonderful people of many different backgrounds, I am a much better person today than I was 19 years ago when I was commissioned in the Navy.  It is our responsibility at NCBC to extend this leadership to the prisoners and help them leave military service better than they entered it.