The world-renowned Mock Prison Riot, held every spring at the decommissioned West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville, has received the Innovative Approaches Award for 2013 from the International Association of Correctional Training Personnel (IACTP).
“All who contribute to the success of the Mock Prison Riot are honored that this award has been bestowed upon us by the IACTP,” said Jim Rubenstein, Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Corrections (WV DOC). “This award is a testament to the far-reaching effectiveness, uniqueness, and longevity of the Mock Prison Riot program.”
The Mock Prison Riot is a four-day law enforcement and corrections tradeshow and training event, which is comprised of a technology showcase and demonstrations, tactical training scenarios, workshops, and a Skills Competition. The Mock Prison Riot is a program of the WV DOC and the West Virginia Corrections Training Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Practitioners and technology developers come from all over the world to participate in the program.
In August, Mock Prison Riot staff members submitted an application for review by the IACTP’s Awards Committee, which is comprised of members of the organization’s board of directors. The committee announced its decision on October 21, 2013.
“We ask applicants several questions regarding their programs and contributions to the field of corrections training,” said IACTP President-elect Pete Norris, who also serves as the director of training for the Wyoming Department of Corrections. “One very important question involves applicants describing how their programs or contributions represent a creative departure from standard or previous practice. The Mock Prison Riot stood out for several reasons. The use of an actual penitentiary for training combined with role players and emerging and existing technology integration are characteristics that definitely set it apart from other applicants.”
The IACTP is an international professional association of trainers, training administrators, and educators representing all aspects of the field of adult and juvenile justice. Based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, IACTP was established in 1974 to enhance public safety and the fair and humane treatment of offenders by promoting organizational and individual excellence in training.
The IACTP’s Awards of Excellence Program strives to identify and celebrate the accomplishments of outstanding individuals and programs in the field of criminal justice training. The Innovative Approaches award is given for training which is considered state-of- the-art.
“Upon review, the committee also learned that the Mock Prison Riot is 100 percent on target for achieving its goals and fulfilling its mission statement,” Norris said. “The Mock Prison Riot works, and it works well. It is very unique and effective training.”
“Realistic training is difficult to come by, especially in the corrections industry,” said Terry Rusin, a member of the West Virginia Corrections Training Foundation’s board of directors. “The realism of the Mock Prison Riot venue and scenario-based training fill that void.”
“We are always striving to make each event better and more relevant than the last,” said Rusin. “The unique circumstances of our venue and the relationships we have and continue to build throughout the world allow us to offer innovative hands-on training that is extremely difficult to find elsewhere. It is our privilege to continue offering these training and technology opportunities to our attendees.”