In Shape Indiana: IN State Prison

By: Sarah Platt Email
By: Sarah Platt Email

When it comes to New Year's resolutions and hitting the gym, some employees at the Indiana State Prison are way ahead of the game. As part of Governor Daniel's In Shape Indiana Initiative, staff are taking it upon themselves to get in shape and stay in shape.

You could say getting in shape has become contagious for some workers in the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City. A handful of employees, including correctional officers, have shed some pounds before and after their work shifts. Some have even donated hours of their own time to get the facility up and running,

No doubt it can be a stressful job behind the walls of the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, a maximum security facility. But to help make the work day a little smoother, some of the employees here have taken their own initiative to get the machines to help them get a good workout. “Starting it up here it looked just like the grease monkey garage, came in at midnights and worked on my own getting it straightened out,” says Lt. Robert Post.

Thanks to donations, some state funding, and their own work, these employees are enjoying their facility, which they say is still evolving. “When I started, I didn't have muscles, so it made a big difference,” says Officer Besse Leonard. “I think working inside the prison, it helps to be in shape, you never know what you're going to face from day to day,” adds Leonard.

“It's proven that if you workout, you feel better about yourself and it boosts up your confidence and all around lifestyle change, not just something you do for a couple of months and stop, have to really dedicate it to your life to stay in shape,” says Post.

You might say Officer Charles Ritchey is the poster boy for the program. Since last year, he's lost about 100 pounds and kept it off. “I was over 300 pounds, about 325- somewhere in there, it was a pain- it was really affecting me physically and emotionally,” says Ritchey.

Ritchey says he gets by with smaller meals and burns more than he takes in. He says his own mental health has improved ten-fold. “My stress is gone, I hardly have any stress, I don't take job home with me.”

And with a job as a correctional officer, leaving the job at work is a priority. “Whether you go in the morning or at night, your body is relieving itself of stress that you don't even know about,” says Post.

Eventually, Lt. Post tells me they hope to add several cardio machines, like treadmills and ellipticals. Overall, this is something they hope to expand with time as they get either donations or funding for equipment.

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