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  • Tammy L Wells

'Can Do' Lieutenant Hones Skills at Leadership Academy

ALFRED, Maine – Many – perhaps most – who know her would describe York County Jail Lt. Lori Marks as a ‘can do’ sort of person. So when a fellow lieutenant, Michael Perry, pointed out that a weeklong jail leadership program he’d previously attended was accepting applicants – and hosting a competition for a scholarship to attend – Marks didn’t hesitate.

She earned that scholarship to the National Jail Leadership Command Academy, conducted at Sam Houston State University, one of just two offered for each session (one is earmarked for a Texas resident) and soon, she was on her way.

Fresh back from the academy, Marks, who was named the American Jail Association’s Corrections Officer of the Year in 2022, said jail and prison officers from across the country – administrators, captains, sergeants and others – were represented. The leadership academy, a collaboration between the American Jail Association and the Correctional Management Institute of Texas, is held three times a year, and accepts a maximum of 37 applicants for each session.

A 16-year employee at York County Jail, Marks is the supervisor of an array of programs offered to residents at the 300-bed facility, from educational classes like high school equivalency to drug and alcohol programs, art classes, and a certificate peer recovery coach program, where jail residents learn to mentor their peers dealing with substance use and can take skill back to the community upon release. As well, Marks supervises the classifications section, where the housing unit to which each new jail resident is assigned is determined.

“Lt. Marks is a dedicated professional who truly has taken appropriate ownership of the York County Jail,” said York County Sheriff William L. King, adding staff are encouraged to avail themselves of training – a benefit to the individual and to the efficient operation of the jail. “This training, attended by corrections managers from across the country, was intensive and explored contemporary challenges that everybody in the corrections field face,” King said. “I am pleased and proud that Lt. Marks took the time and effort to attend this training.”


The classes included topics like workforce development, leading and managing change, essential leadership and more – topics Marks said were interesting and beneficial.

“It was definitely worthwhile,” said Marks, an Alfred resident who was raised in nearby Springvale. Along with the classwork, she said attendees learn from each other. “The point is to prepare for future leadership roles and help you improve yourself at whatever level you are at now, and keep growing,” she said.

Marks noted that there were a number of female officers – superintendents, assistant jail administrators and others in the class, working in facilities with as many as 4,000 residents.

 “It was inspirational,” she said.

There were classes on the culture inside a jail, staffing matters, and, she said, how to become a better leader, and how to manage generational and cultural differences among employees.

The jail staff, she said, is a family.

“It’s how to take each other’s strengths and weaknesses and build the best teams to problem solve,” she said, noting a mix of personalities provides balance.

As well, she pointed out, there are times when there’s a need to turn a negative mindset around in order to achieve a common goal.

She said fairness and consistency are a must.

As to jail residents, Marks said it is vital that staff and others remember that those in custody are someone’ s family member, and someone’s loved one.

“This is an opportunity to help them change their life,” she said.

1) ​York County Jail Lt. Lori Marks talked about leadership  following a recent training she attended on the subject at theNational Jail Leadership Command Academy.

2) Lt. Lori Marks, in the front row, fourth from the right, was among 37 jail and prison employees from across the country who recently attended the National Jail Leadership Academy. - Courtesy Photo


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