Wider Horizons
He lives in a world of gangs, addiction and repeat offenders.

So Shane Hoiland (’93 Criminal Justice) counts running into “former offenders” who have turned their lives around as one of the best parts of his job.

“We don’t usually see the success stories, “says Hoiland, who has worked in corrections since 1994. “But sometimes I’m at the mall and see someone, usually from my time working with young offenders, and he looks good, and says he’s got a good job, and he thanks you and gets into a car with his kids and family.”

Hoiland smiles at the image.

“Being told that I contributed to that former offender’s decision to make better choices gives a real purpose to the work we do,” he says.

Hoiland spent six years as a security intelligence officer before transitioning in March to work as the Deputy Director of Operations at the Lethbridge Corrections Centre. As part of his job, he makes sure the day-to-day operations at the corrections centre follow the legislation and procedures that govern the operations of the facility. In addition, he jumps at any chance for public speaking, telling the story of drugs, gangs and crime to students from middle school through post-secondary. He is an eagerly-anticipated speaker each semester at Lethbridge College and receives praise for his compelling stories and excellent teaching methods.

Lethbridge College Corrections Instructor Barb Mantello says Hoiland connects with the students immediately and keeps their attention throughout his talks. In addition, she adds that

“Shane is a genuine people person with a can-do attitude that is infectious. He is an amazing person for an organization to have.”

Hoiland loves the public speaking parts of his job.

“I really like the enthusiasm and questions of the students,” he says. “When I was at the college, one of the most beneficial parts for me was when speakers would come in and tell us about the job. I always aspired to be that guy up there, having a whole class listen to you talk about your experiences. I promised myself years ago that if I ever made it, I’d come back and talk to students. And I just love doing this.”

In March, Hoiland spoke about gangs in Alberta’s correctional facilities to the second year students in a Corrections class called Issues and Trends in Justice. Hoiland told students about the always-changing identifiers – tattoos, clothing brands, hand signals – and noted that the gang subculture is fluid.

“As a staff working within the justice system, we have to adjust accordingly,” he says. “Gangs have a strong network system and if we can learn anything from them, it is that strong communication can yield results.”

Communication is something that seems to come easy to Hoiland. Whether playing with his two sons – Cameron, 5, and Eli, 2 – or talking to a room full of students about HIV, drug addiction or violent crime, this Lethbridge College grad knows how to tell a good story.

And sometimes – usually when he passes someone on the street or at a store – he can see that some of the stories have happy endings.
Wider Horizons
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