POCATELLO — When Jim Woolf took over the job as new warden at the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center, it was a homecoming of sorts.
Woolf, 42, grew up in Southeast Idaho and graduated from Snake River High School in Blackfoot.
Besides being the warden of the prison, Woolf is also deputy chief of the Idaho Department of Corrections’ prison division. He has been with the IDC for more than 20 years and worked at the department’s central office in Boise before coming to Pocatello.
The women’s prison has 297 inmates. Woolf says his philosophy toward the job is, “There are always opportunities for people to change, especially when it comes to the offender population.”
During his free time, he enjoys hunting and fishing and working with his cows in Rigby.
ISJ: After a month on the job, what is your initial impression of the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center?
Woolf: We have a great bunch of dedicated employees who are committed to making a difference.
ISJ: What do you like most about the job?
Woolf: Working with dedicated staff who are committed to offender change.
ISJ: What do you like least about the job?
Woolf: I like all aspects of the job.
ISJ: Is rehabilitation a major focus at the facility?
Woolf: Rehabilitation is a primary focus at all Idaho Department of Corrections facilities. Inmates are assigned a program pathway upon entry based on their assessed risk and needs, and they follow that plan through release.
ISJ: What kind of rehabilitation programs are there at the facility?
Woolf: Education, anger management, pre-release, women in recovery, life skill class, group therapy, mental health, vocational work programs and work release.
ISJ: In general, what kind of change would you like to see in the inmates between the time they are incarcerated and released?
Woolf: Really, it is a process from the time the offender enters the system until they are released. They should complete their program pathway, learn to manage their behavior and develop good coping skills, and utilize a good decision-making process.
ISJ: How do you like Pocatello so far?
Woolf: Pocatello is great; people are friendly.
ISJ: What do you like best about this city?
Woolf: The city has an inviting atmosphere and is family oriented.