EDMONTON, Alberta – Prisons, or correctional facilities as they are also known, are intended to rehabilitate criminal offenders in an effort to make them suitable for a return to society.

Many methods have been tried to this end, but none have worked so well as a recent retraining program at the Bowden Detention Center in central Alberta.  The new program aims to retrain and refocus violent offenders into fully functioning, certifiable, oil and gas geologists.

Dr. Whinedogg, P.MD.

We began by using geo-careerology studies to determine what skills best met the needs and useable skill sets of our inmates.  With records of substance abuse, anger management issues, illegal chemistry, and violence, we felt that geology offered a substantial advantage over more academic professions such as engineering.   We can tailor many geological tasks to the inmates current abilities. – Jameson Whinedogg, Mental Health Analyst with AHS

The training will involve having the inmates create and present maps, a task very similar to graffiti art and tagging, which is also a low stress outlet for an inmate’s creativity.

Rock sample preparation and study, which is almost an identical process to drill cuttings washing and heating, with a minor amount of rock description that could even be taught to a 6 year old.

Drilling fluid chemistry and its effects on reservoir quality and permeability.  This aspect of geology is directly applicable to inmates charged and convicted of operating drug labs and narcotic manufacturing labs.  Much of the chemistry principles are similar and can be implemented in an on-the-fly operational environment.

Inmate Bruce McCrutchin, ready for the geological training program (he has the hair)
Inmate Bruce McCrutchin, ready for the geological training program (he has the geologist hair)

The most transferable skill of most inmates however is violence.  There is a lot of rock hammering, smashing, and destructive testing in a geologist’s life, and it has been noted by several psychiatric trials that geological evaluation is a great outlet for angry or violent offenders to effectively ease tension.

Opposition to the scheme has been voiced by APEGA representative Jimminie Krocket, P.Geol.  He has staunchly contends that criminals are not suited to geological work and is offended by the thought that just anyone can do what geologists do.

Mr. Krocket
Mr. Krocket

It is absurd to think that just any Joe Shmoe from a government funded detention centre can be a geologist.  It takes an expensive degree and many years of specialized training to do what we do.  Maps are not graffiti.  Drilling and produced fluids are not meth-head chemistry, and rock chip samples are not meant to be aggressively smashed out of an outcrop.  This plan is ridiculous and APEGA will not stand for it. – Mr. Krocket, APEGA

The program launches in January 2015 at several institutions across Alberta.  As of this report, there are already several hundred inmates looking forward to their studies in the spring.


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