Education; it’s a well-studied factor in successful re-entry and one of the single most important determinants for an inmate to gain employment upon release from a correctional setting. At CCNO, we prefer that inmates use their incarceration to improve and take personal responsibility to set themselves up for success when they reenter our communities. Establishing a robust GED program is one way for us to aid them in achieving this goal.
We’ve spent some time developing our vision for an education program that can truly meet the needs of our inmates and maximize the number of inmates that it can reach. Prior to the pandemic, our GED program had limits based on classroom space, instructor-to-student ration, and security needs. However, we have learned that adaptability and flexibility are fundamental to pandemic life and operations. This is why our program blends on-line, in person, and self-study options for optimal inclusion and covers the learning styles of our inmates. This fusion of educational instruction allows for us to reach up to 50 inmates at any given time. CCNO is a state-certified testing site and our inmates are able to do their testing prior to their release, leaving the facility fully prepared to seek out employment.
Ensuring that an appropriate curriculum is being followed is imperative for the inmates’ success. For this reason, a credentialed administrator is organizing the curriculum and virtual platform, and providing professional development to all of our instructors. Virtual instruction gives us the flexibility to utilize multiple part-time, certified instructors as opposed to the struggle we’ve faced in the past of needing our GED teachers on-site full time. Using the virtual platform allows teachers to share the same lesson plan, build upon each lesson, and pick up where another left off the day before.
Students are taught four subjects: reasoning through language arts, mathematics reasoning, science, and social studies. Each subject area has a section test for the student to pass. Once all four sections are passed, the GED is considered completed. Fortunately for the students, the GED system tracks their progress no matter their location. So if they passed two sections prior to incarceration or while at a different facility, they’ll still be able to attain their GED by passing the remaining sections.