Today, Gov. Nathan Deal issued an announcement that the Georgia Department of Corrections has partnered with the Mountain Education Center Charter School to provide online, self-paced high school courses at Arrendale State Prison in Habersham County. The goal is to assist suitable candidates from among the 1400 female inmates housed at the facility in the completion of their high school diplomas. Approximately 200 of the inmate population are under the age of 22.
There are also plans to expand the program next year by partnering with the new Foothills Education Charter School to offer courses at both Burruss Correctional Training Center in Forsyth and Arrendale State Prison.
Governor Deal stated:
“With seven out of every 10 Department of Corrections inmates lacking a high school diploma or GED, it is of the utmost importance that while individuals are in our criminal justice system, we do a better job of raising their education and skills to an adequate level. If an offender has been equipped to enter the workforce upon release, that person will stand a greater chance of avoiding relapse. This program will provide Georgia’s inmates the opportunity to change the direction of their lives.”
One of the positives that I heard about Gov. Deal from people in both political parties during the gubernatorial election was Deal’s willingness to work on prison reform in Georgia. There is a desperate need to not just house inmates but to also provide inmates with the tools and skills that can hopefully prevent recidivism once they are released.