Inmates in Marinette County Jail are working to improve themselves in a program called "Stinking Thinking," which began over three years ago. It's a six-week class that analyzes criminal behavior to help inmates make better choices.
"I'm looking to get anything I can out of this experience to not ever end up back in this situation," said inmate and student, Shawn Pechacek.
The class uses a six disc DVD set, one for each class. They offer testimony of ex-cons changing their ways to live a crime-free life. After they watch the disc, they discuss topics like goal planning, constructive behavior, and creating a positive environment.
Volunteer Dan Vanidestine teaches the class weekly. He says it's his calling to help others.
"I think it's very important to give back, and I figured if I'm not part of the problem, maybe I'm part of the solution," said Vanidestine. Outside of the jail, he's a full-time special education teacher in Peshtigo.
He currently has 11 students and has been teaching the class for over two years. He says it's a rewarding experience to see old students leading better lives after they've served their time.
"They're hardcore into doing the right thing and making better choices. It makes me feel good that way, that I'm making a difference," Vanidestine said.
These students take their final class Thursday, and the next class starts in a few weeks for other inmates.
"I wish the class was longer...It's got me thinking a lot better and a lot straighter on what I should be doing," said inmate and student, Daniel Witzmann.
Completing the class removes one day from each inmate's sentence.