'Structure, community, routine': CrossFit offered to incarcerated men and women at Yaphank Correctional Facility

Laurie Pinka, whose son, James, died from an overdose, helped bring the program to the jail.

Cecilia Dowd

Apr 1, 2024, 10:14 AM

Updated 17 days ago

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CrossFit is being offered to incarcerated men and women at the Yaphank Correctional Facility who are in the Sheriff’s Addiction Treatment Program.
Laurie Pinka, whose son, James, died from an overdose, helped bring the program to the jail. She founded the James Pinka Foundation in her son’s honor, and the gym at the jail was recently named after him.
John Murray volunteers as a coach. Asked why, he said, “Because I used to be here in this building incarcerated, and I was a product of addiction and CrossFit enabled me to break out of that, to break free of it."
Laurie Pinka said that CrossFit “instantly offers a community of caring, loving people."
James Scavetta of Coram is incarcerated and participates in the CrossFit program. He said it saved his life.
All the coaches are volunteers and the equipment was donated by the James Pinka Foundation.
"CrossFit has proven to be a useful tool for those struggling with addiction because it provides structure, community, routine, all the pillars leading to a sober life," said Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr.


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