College degree opportunity for incarcerated offenders


Uploaded by washingtongovernment on 06.07.2010

Transcript:
the mission of the department of corrections is to improve public safety
to accomplish this task the Washington state penitentiary and Coyote Ridge corrections center
have partnered
with walla walla community college
offenders who meet the basic requirements
have the opportunity to obtain an associates of arts degree while incarcerated
The courses are spectacular they work well
the teachers
the climate here is the same
Its real conducive to learning offender Efram henderson
is earning an associates of arts degree at the Washington state penitentiary
although there may be some differences between incarcerated
Students such as Henderson and a community campus students they are actually more like
then you’d think
most of our guys test into college level reading
Fifty to sixty percent test right into college level writing
almost nobody tests in to the college level math
and that's really not any different than
what you find in any of the community colleges with adult students that are coming
back to school after being away for a time
The course requirements for to obtain a degree
are equivalent to community campus student requirements
and the desire to move forward from an educational standpoint is the same
whether incarcerated
or not
Most things we do here is programming
Which a lot of people take it as being forced upon
But a lot of people haven’t had jobs on the outs before so they don't know that that's part of life
It'ss getting up, going to work, what have you
this gives you some incentive and you learn it open your eyes
Studentwise they’re
real devoted, they’re real focused
they look at this is a really important opportunity
to the instructor
they will tell you that their best classes are here

The degree program started in the fall of two thousand two
Through a grant for the Washington state penitentiary
interest in the program grew to coyote ridge corrections center
but the previous grant only funded one facility
the federal grant specifically for offenders in prison was available but the paperwork
to apply was very involved
and few state agencies had the resources to complete the application process
fortunately
Walla walla community college
Saw the benefit in applying for the grant
it was only the walla walla community college that we're contracting with here
To provide education services that actually took the time to do the paperwork and so they
got all the money that had been allocated in the state of Washington have to share with Washington state penitentiary
because the walla walla community college serves both institutions
I was like thinking of paying for correspondence courses
and this is was like a god’s gift in a sense to me
The degree program is paid for through a private grant from the Sunshine Lady Foundation
and the US department of education incarcerated individuals grant.
No Washington state tax dollars were used.
It's a completely grant-funded program,
it doesn’t involve any tax dollars and yet it is significant in its impact on the
offender population
and overall offender behavior.
Offenders who participate in educational programs while incarcerated
are using their time productively
and are learning new skills and training that make them better equipped
To successfully transition 0:03:53.319,0:03:54.819 back into the community
I think it's a great program for the people involved
because it gives them something to do
and it just helps people interact with each other they normally wouldn’t interact
because when you go out in the day room and you can see five or six seven people at a
time
Sitting at different tables working doing their work
and you see people helping them
they wouldn’t normally know or people they wouldn’t normally see
Trying to help them do things and get get their work done
as a superintendent
I fell blessed that we’re able to have this opportunity
and on
truly has been very impacful
on the offender population
because this is an opportunity that they don't normally get
and they have
Gone over and above to try and meet the standards So that they can get in that program.
Research does indicate that offenders with at least two years of college have a
ten-percent rearrest rates
compared to a national re-arrest rate of approximately sixty percent
We are hopeful this program will positively impact offenders and improve
public safety .