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Kristie Bennett StanbackKristie Bennett-Stanback

Scotland Correctional Institution, Laurinburg, North Carolina

Kristie Bennett-Stanback is currently the Assistant Superintendent for Custody and Operations III for Scotland Correctional Institution in Laurinburg, N.C. The path that led her to this impressive position is one of determination, perseverance, and a strong will to succeed.

Bennett-Stanback started her career in 1995 as a Correctional Officer at Brown Creek Correctional Institution in Polkton, N.C. with an all-male, medium custody population. She was promoted to Correctional Sergeant at Hoke Correctional Institution, a medium custody facility in McCain, N.C.  Next, she was appointed to Correctional Assistant Unit Manager at Hoke Correctional Institution. Her responsibilities included supervising sergeants and assisting in the overall management of a housing unit.  While in this position, she gained experience dealing with several population types including protective custody, mental health, general population and segregation.

“This experience helped groom me and push me forward in my career; however, I realized that I needed education along with experience in order to advance,” she said. “I decided to attend Sandhills Community College because of its solid reputation and its convenience to my job.”

While Bennett-Stanback was on the way to earning her associate’s degree in Criminal Justice Technology from Sandhills, she was promoted to Correctional Lieutenant at Hoke Correctional Institution. This position involved supervision of the daily operation of the entire facility.

“I love SCC,” she continued. “My education at Sandhills was an excellent experience for many reasons including the outstanding faculty, like Teresa Hall, Criminal Justice Technology coordinator and associate professor, and Murdock McLaurin, BLET instructor. They truly care about each student – from advising and helping you to determine the best career path.  I also benefited from their personal experiences. They helped to build my confidence by letting me know there was no limit to what I was capable of doing with education and experience. I not only learned about criminal justice, I also learned that I could take this knowledge and experience from different people – like my instructors and mentors – and model those behaviors to make me a better officer and supervisor.”

Her next career move took her to Lanesboro Correctional Institution in Polkton, N.C. where she served as a Correctional Unit Manager. During this time, she experienced a life-changing family situation that caused her to change the direction of her career. “Even though I enjoyed my job, as a single mother, I knew that I had to put my son first,” she remembered. “I needed second shift employment so I could care for his special needs and still support my family.” She transferred to the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and worked as Youth Services Cottage Parent Supervisor for Samarkand Youth Development Center in Eagle Springs, N.C.

Once they had become accustomed to their new situation, Bennett-Stanback became a Parole Surveillance Officer with the Lee County Division of Community Corrections. This was a new experience for her, because in this position she dealt with offenders and parolees in a community setting. She monitored offenders on electronic house arrest, conducted home visits, searched homes, served warrants and had arrest powers.

In 2008, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Western Carolina University. She took classes online at Western Carolina University and Sandhills Community College to obtain general education courses. Within three months of earning this advanced degree, she became a Probation Parole Officer I for Moore County. That same year, she was promoted to a Probation Parole Officer II for Lee County.

In her current position, Bennett-Stanback has an enormous amount of responsibility. Once construction is complete, Scotland Correctional Institution will have the capacity for 1,756 inmates with three custody levels: minimum and medium (dormitory-style accommodations) and close custody (single-cells for inmates who need extra security).

“I have gone through a lot to get here,” she reminisced. “It’s been a long, hard journey and I am humbled and blessed to be here. I am here because many mentors took the time to take me under their wings and impart wisdom that helped shape my career.  I am successful because of the people I work with on a daily basis.  I work with a team of skilled and talented professionals who are dedicated to the mission of our department.”

While it must be challenging to work in a male-dominated environment, Bennett-Stanback proves that you can be successful at whatever you set your mind to do and to become in life.

“I will never forget that if not for God’s grace, I could be on the other side of this desk,” she said. When managing the inmate population my attitude is: ‘Help me (to) help you.’ I have also learned that if you demand respect, you must first give respect.”

With new advances in forensic technology and an ever-evolving legal landscape, you can be assured that a career in criminal justice or law enforcement will truly be the experience of a lifetime. Students graduating from the Criminal Justice Technology program at Sandhills are ready to enter fields in law enforcement (police, corrections, probation/parole, wildlife officers), security (private industry security force, investigators for banks, insurance companies), and social services (social services case investigators, domestic violence center personnel). Other fields to be considered are court officials and magistrates, and with further education the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Employment is expected to grow by 11 percent now through 2016. A more security-conscious society and population growth will contribute to the increasing demand for police services.
To learn more about Criminal Justice Technology at Sandhills Community College, contact Teresa Hall at (910) 695-3931 or hallt@sandhills.edu.

 

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