Warden Charlie West ready to "take it easy"

Warden Charlie West ready to "take it easy"

For more than four decades, Warden Charlie West has been an instrumental part of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS). Today, he retires.

West started his career out as a correctional officer in 1977. That’s the same year of the New York City blackout and the year Elvis Presley died. The average cost of a new house was $49,300 and a gallon of Gas was 65 cents. It was a different time then, but one full of endless possibilities for West.

“Looking back on my 42 years here at NDCS, it’s been good,” said West. “I’ve seen a lot of good changes, especially with programming for the incarcerated population. I’ve also seen a lot of people able to improve themselves through our system.”

The warden started out as a correctional officer at the Nebraska State Penitentiary (NSP). Soon after, he was promoted to correctional club sponsor and assistant unit manager at Lincoln Correctional Center. He continued his career as a correctional counselor and unit manager at NSP, a unit manager, correctional major, associate superintendent of programming, deputy warden and warden at Omaha Correctional Center (OCC) and finally, warden at the Community Correctional Center – Lincoln and Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility. “I opened up the Omaha Correctional Center,’ he said. “That was one of the key moments in my career that I’m really proud of. I was at OCC for 17 years and was really able to see so many positive changes there.”

West says he’s enjoyed seeing and meeting so many different people over the years and watching his teammates find sheer joy in helping others. He says seeing that never got old. “I’m amazed by our team members who are willing to devote additional effort in getting people to see a better outcome for themselves,” said West.

CCC-O Warden Ryan Mahr, who has known West for more than 30 years. “The thing that stands out most to me about Charlie is his willingness to do anything that he would ask any other employee to do. I have seen him inventory inmate property, conduct pat searches and transport items to other facilities for staff. I know that the staff who have had an opportunity to work with him, admire him and respect him for his willingness to roll up his sleeves and work right beside them.”

West has big plans for his retirement. He’s going to “take it easy” for a while. But once he’s ready, West plans to continue giving back to the community through volunteering his time in helping troubled children in Nebraska.  He also mentioned he might come back to NCYF as a mentor to assist the children and young adults at the facility. “There’s a great need out there for mentors and I think I can help,” said West.

We think West has helped a lot throughout his career. NDCS welcomes him back anytime he’s ready to continue his great work. Congratulations to Warden West on his retirement. He’s earned it!