I try to treat the criminals I come into contact with like they're people. Because that's what they are.
Korrell Koehlmoos typically works 40-50 hours a week at Nebraska Department of Corrections. On top of that he is taking a full course load and is a wide receiver on Concordia’s football team.
Korrell Koehlmoos started as an education major. “I wanted to do something where I knew I could help people. At first, I thought the way I would do that was through education.” After a while, Korrell found that that was not the right choice for him. “I still wanted to find a way to help people, but I just did not know how. Eventually, one of my coaches mentioned Criminal Justice to me. I took a few classes and I realized I loved it.”
It was about a year after Korrell changed his major when he heard about the job. “In my Criminology class, they handed out flyers about an internship at Nebraska Department of Corrections, where they offered a full-time salary. Initially, that was what stuck out to me.” Over time though, Korrell found that the job was a lot bigger than the money. “I started in May of 2021, and I’m still working there now. I am a corrections officer, which means I maintain security. Sometimes that looks like breaking up fights or dressing up in full SWAT gear because someone is starting fires in the prison. It’s crazy. But it’s fun.”
Korrell feels that he has learned a lot of skills for his job from his time at Concordia. “I regularly am confronted with situations where I talk to people from different backgrounds and have to keep a cool head in stressful situations. In football, you need to keep a cool head and learn to build a team with people who may have hugely diverse backgrounds from you. It’s not too different from work.”
People are the most difficult part of the job, but they are also Korrell’s favorite. “Because of the difficult things I go through, the bonds I’ve created at the prison are amazing. I interact with people I never thought I would. I have a friend from Pakistan who invites me over and brings me Pakistani food.” This love of people extends to the prisoners. “I never try to find out what they are in for, because it does not really matter to me. I treat them kindly and do all I can to help them act like people, because I want them to leave prison and stay out of prison. That is the goal.”