Students in a Moffat County High School American government class file Monday morning into the booking area of the Moffat County Jail as Lt. Dean Herndon, center, jail administrator, holds the door for them. Students took a tour of the jail as part of Law Week, a semi-annual event at MCHS exploring the legal system.

Photo by Bridget Manley

Students in a Moffat County High School American government class file Monday morning into the booking area of the Moffat County Jail as Lt. Dean Herndon, center, jail administrator, holds the door for them. Students took a tour of the jail as part of Law Week, a semi-annual event at MCHS exploring the legal system.

MCHS students tour Moffat County Jail as part of Law Week

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Quotable

“You talk about studying government, this is one of the more interesting weeks of the year.”

Liane Davis-Kling, Moffat County High School social studies teacher

At a glance …

Moffat County High School American government students toured the Moffat County Jail on Monday morning.

The tour was part of Law Week, an event that takes place every fall and spring semester.

Other Law Week activities include a presentation from local law enforcement officers and a question-and-answer session with Judge Sandra Gardner.

They walked down narrow hallways, filed past holding cells and peered into small, empty rooms containing a payphone — one of the few links to the outside.

If Moffat County High School students needed to be reminded of where they were, the signs on the heavy door leading to the booking area spelled it out.

“Jail facility is tobacco free,” the sign reads in red block lettering.

The MCHS American government students were learning about one aspect of the justice system firsthand Monday as they toured the Moffat County Jail.

The tour was one of several activities planned for Law Week, which takes place every fall and spring semester.

The concept behind Law Week isn’t a new one.

The American Bar Association has designated May 1 as Law Day, and the event has been in existence for more than 40 years, according to the association’s website.

MCHS teachers tweaked the idea by extending it to a weeklong event several years ago, said Liane Davis-Kling, an MCHS social studies teacher.

The event has been at the high school since the early 1990s, although there were some years the event didn’t take place.

This incarnation of the semi-annual event is scheduled to stretch beyond the five-day timeframe in its title.

Representatives from the Craig Police Department, Moffat County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado State Patrol visited the school Thursday.

“I always like to (have law enforcement officials) come in for a question-and-answer session where the kids can ask basically anything they want to,” Davis-Kling said.

Other activities for the week include a question-and-answer session with Judge Sandra Gardner. If all goes according to schedule, they’ll also get a chance Monday to sit in on several court hearings.

According to Davis-Kling, Law Week is one of the highlights of the semester-long class.

“You talk about studying government, this is one of the more interesting weeks of the year,” she said.

Its purpose, she said, is to teach students about all aspects of the justice system, from the police and courts to the correctional system.

Students learned lesser-known details of the latter during Monday’s tour of the jail, guided by jail administrator Lt. Dean Herndon.

He pointed out a series of cells, including one known as H3 which has held as many as 40 illegal aliens at one time for processing, he said.

He led them to the kitchen and described the kind of meals inmates can expect behind bars: breakfast, a hot lunch and sandwiches for supper.

Herndon hopes what students saw on the tour gives them an incentive to stay out of trouble, he said.

That message hit home for MCHS juniors Kaylin Boss, 16, and Latana Riley, 17.

The idea of “just … sitting in there, just doing nothing for a long amount of time” isn’t appealing, Riley said.

Neither was the fare.

Boss didn’t relish the idea of having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner, she said.

The main thing Boss took away from the tour, she said, was “not to go to jail.”

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