BU alums find jobs through their Corrections Connection
by Brian Fitzgerald
After interning at WABU-TV Channel 68, WEEI Sports Radio 850, and writing for the Daily Free Press, Carissa Caramanis (COM'98) thought that she was destined to be a sports reporter. She certainly didn't expect to be writing about juvenile delinquency, prison gangs, and other criminal justice issues.
A Web site dedicated to the corrections field? What are the pressing issues of the day -- tear gas vs. pepper spray? "At first I thought it was a strange concept," says Caramanis. "But it's a $48 million industry that is using new technology and the Internet more and more. The company is aimed at an unusual niche market."
And that market is producing results for SIM, which this year expects to earn revenues of more than half a million dollars. The Corrections Connection Web site contains some 10,000 law enforcement links and receives more than 50,000 hits a day.
Caramanis' articles cover such corrections issues as AIDS in prisons (including the practice in several states of segregating HIV-positive inmates), mentally ill and suicidal inmates, and the pros and cons of privatization -- "a hot topic these days," she says. California, for example, has nine private correctional facilities.
"We have given the corrections industry a much-needed home on the Internet," says Gaseau, who in the years after earning her master's degree in print journalism at COM worked as a reporter for four Massachusetts newspapers before becoming the editor of The Corrections Professional in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Returning to the Boston area to work for the Corrections Connection in September "made sense because it was a perfect fit," she says. "I covered the industry for two years in Florida."
From lawns to locks
The Corrections Connection's biggest coup, however, came in October, when it was asked to handle the live Internet broadcast of the White House Conference on School Safety. The daylong videoconference attracted 25,000 participants -- including First Lady Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Janet Reno, Education Secretary Richard Riley, and members of Congress -- at more than 900 satellite sites nationwide. It is now archived at www.juvenilenet.org.
"The videoconference has been our most rewarding project so far," says Evdokimoff, who was also hired by SIM after meeting Laura Noonan at a BU job fair. A May graduate of COM's film and television department, Evdokimoff didn't want to go to Los Angeles and start from the bottom "as a production assistant fetching coffee," he says. "What I'm doing here is interesting." He has other videoconferencing projects in the pipeline: in October, Northeastern University's Criminal Justice College installed two satellite dishes on the company's roof for live Internet telecasts. Earlier this year, the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention gave Corrections Connection a grant to develop long-distance learning programs.
COM pays off
After earning her law degree from Northeastern University, she met her future husband, Joseph, who had a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a law degree from Northeastern, along with a master's degree in computer information systems from MET's program in Lakenheath, England. In 1995 the couple formed SIM and ran it from a condo in Cleveland Circle. The following year they began the Corrections Connection Web site, got married, and moved their offices to Quincy.
At present, the Corrections Connection Web site is growing at the rate of 200 percent a year and is expected to reach more than $9 million in revenues over the next three years. "With so much competition on the Internet, it is rare to control a niche market of this size," Laura says. "Laura and I had a dream of starting our own business," says Joseph. "And we did it."