Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal announced that he is conducting a public health and safety initiative of a different kind.
Seven out of 10 Georgia prison inmates do not have a high school diploma. Subsequently, felons released by society without an education are much more likely to commit other crimes that will endanger society in order to survive.
To hopefully lower the rate of recidivism in Georgia, Deal has announced today that the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC)and the Mountain Education Center Charter School (MEC) have partnered together to offer high school courses at Arrendale State Prison in Habersham County, which will help inmates complete their high school educations and receive diplomas.
“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,” said Deal. “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.”
Arrendale houses 1,400 female inmates, including approximately 200 under the age of
22. Teachers from the Mountain Education Charter School – a collaboration between
Elbert, Fannin, Forsyth, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Pickens, Rabun, Towns, Union and White
county school districts – will use online, self-paced instructional programming for
those who are identified as suitable candidates for the program. The program is
scheduled to begin on Jan. 15, 2015.
“We are excited to enter into this partnership with MEC,” said GDC Assistant
Commissioner Dr. L.C. (Buster) Evans. “The MEC nontraditional charter school model
is an evidence-based program helping many students who have not been successful in
traditional environments complete their high school education. It has been many
years, if ever, since an inmate has completed his or her high school diploma while
incarcerated in a state correctional facility for adults. I am thrilled that we are
partnering with one of Georgia’s most successful charter programs to offer this
“A key part of our mission at the Mountain Education Charter High School is to help
students earn a high school diploma,” said Mountain Education Charter High School
Superintendent Richard Behrens. “We are looking forward to this partnership with the
Georgia Department of Corrections, which will give incarcerated women and men a
second chance to complete their studies and receive a Georgia high school diploma.”
GDC plans to expand the program next year through a partnership with the new
Foothills Education Charter School, a collaboration between the Clarke, Jackson and
Madison county school districts, and offer courses at Burruss Correctional Training
Center in Forsyth and Arrendale State Prison.