Philestina "Philly" Yazzie
Philly, an enrolled member of the Navajo Tribe, comes from the Haystack Area of the Baca Chapter, on the Navajo Nation. She grew up in Haystack and attended High School in Thoreau, New Mexico. After graduating from High School, she attended Eastern New Mexico University for two semester, before transferring to the University of New Mexico at their Gallup Campus, where she remained for two years.
Philly decided a career in corrections appeared promising and enrolled at the New Mexico State University Correctional Officers Training Academy (COTA) where she graduated in 2006. Philly started at the New Mexico Womens’ Correctional Facility in Grants, New Mexico as a as a Correctional Officer, immediately following graduation from C.O.T.A. Philly worked with the inmates on a daily basis in a one-on-one environment.
In 2008, Philly was promoted to the position of Correctional Counselor, where she served as a Unit Supervisor, overseeing two-hundred-seventy-four (274) Inmates and twelve (12) to fifteen (15) Correctional Officers on a daily basis. Next, in 2010, Philly was transferred and placed in charge of a Segregation Unit, which housed twenty-four (24) Inmates. During this time period, Philly became a member of the facility’s Special Operations and Response Team (SORT).
In 2011, Philly was assigned to be the facility’s Intake Officer, where she processes the arrival, detention and release of all Inmates entering and being discharged from the institution. During this period, Philly has also served as the Facility’s Armorer, maintaining control and accountability for all weapons, ammunition and chemical agents. Philly as also been designated as the agency’s chemical agents instructor and is “Trainer for Trainers” certified.