Sampson Correctional Case Manager Wins Prisons Education Award

RALEIGH — Case manager/educational-vocational coordinator Mahogani Thompkins has won this year’s Education Award for her outstanding work to make Sampson Correctional offenders eligible to attend classes during the pandemic.

“She is a thinker, an outside-the-box person,” said Sarah Cobb, Prisons director of rehabilitative services.

The classes with Sampson Community College are socially distanced, with other pandemic health protocols, but taking classes is an important effort to prepare soon-to-be-released offenders for their returns to their communities.

Thompkins worked to meet the requirements of the community college to allow her to conduct offender testing to place them in academic, vocational and high school equivalency classes at the prison during the pandemic.

Education is her passion because offender education leads to jobs, and jobs lead to success and reduces the chances an offender commits another crime.

“She goes above and beyond,” said Sampson Warden Bob VanGorder. “She does what needs to be done. She’s a team player and an asset to the organization. Her efforts have resulted in student success and personal growth among her assigned offenders.”

Announced at the first in-person (but socially distant and masked) gathering of the state’s wardens in a year on May 6, Whaley’s award coincided with national Correctional Officers and Correctional Employees Week.

“She represents the best of our best from across the state,” said Todd Ishee, Commissioner of Prisons. “Our award winners are hard-working, innovative and deeply committed to their jobs, their colleagues and to the care of the men and women in our custody.”

Thompkins was hired as a correctional officer in 2011 and promoted to case manager in 2017.

The prison system houses more than 28,000 offenders in 55 facilities with a staff of around 13,500.