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Montana’s Corrections Industries administrator chosen for national honor
HELENA – Montana Department of Corrections director Mike Batista today announced that Gayle Lambert, administrator of the Montana Correctional Enterprises (MCE) division, has been selected to receive the National Correctional Industries Association’s 2015 Rodli Award. The award, which will be presented to Lambert in Indianapolis April 14, honors a senior level executive in correctional industries who has made an outstanding contribution in this field.
“Montana is fortunate to have someone of Gayle’s caliber leading its inmate vocational education and work experience programs,” Batista said. “She is truly committed to providing inmates with an opportunity to develop a work ethic, take pride in their accomplishments, and save money to repay their victims and for their eventual release from prison.”
Lambert has served as MCE’s administrator since 2003. In that capacity, she has been instrumental in introducing a number of new inmate training programs, including the inmate wild land fire crew that last biennium helped fight 21 wild land fires throughout Montana, and the community work program that provides janitorial and maintenance services to non-profit organizations and city and state governments.
Lambert and the MCE team also converted the license plate factory to flat plate technology while making it a self-supporting operation. As fiscal director, she provided the fiscal oversight that converted the food factory to a self-supporting enterprise. That operation has increased production from 2,000 meals a day to over 12,000 a day. During her tenure, Lambert has also overseen the expansion of the dairy, canteen and laundry, all of which provide services to state agencies.
With the Department of Corrections Information Technology division and MSU-Billings, Lambert was instrumental in implementing the offender technology education system known as SOAR, or Student On-line Academic Resources. SOAR is an online network that teaches offenders the critical technology life-skills required to gain employment prior to their reentry into the community.
“While I’m honored to receive this award, MCE’s success is very much a result of the help I had from an amazing mentor, previous administrator Ross Swanson, and the great team we have running the program,” Lambert said. “At MCE, we’re always looking for new ways to encourage inmates and engage them in meaningful employment, whether that’s fighting forest fires for the state, jumping in to craft toys for the Christmas Toys for Tots drive, or learning how to create AutoCAD furniture drawings.”
Throughout her tenure at Montana Correctional Enterprises, Lambert has also been active in the National Correctional Industries Association (NCIA), promoting correctional work programs at the national level. Lambert has held many positions within the Western Correctional Industries Association and NCIA. She currently holds the position of Chairman of the Board (past president) and is involved with the Correctional Industries Best Practices in Reentry along with nine of her peers from across the nation, the National Institute of Corrections and the National Correctional Industries Association.
Lambert received her education from the University of Montana at Montana Tech and began her employment with the Department of Corrections prison division in 1997. She initially joined MCE as its accountant, becoming the division’s fiscal director in 1999.