–MDOC Commissioner Chris Epps touted the agency’s successful efforts at
increasing inmate involvement in prison educational programming. “I
think it is of crucial significance that we maintain and improve
offender rehabilitation programs through educational means,” said Epps.
Over the course of the past 2 years
MDOC has produced close to 900 graduates of the GED program and 1031
offenders have graduated from the vocational training school.
“Not only am I speaking on behalf
of the many instructors and directors of vital treatment programs who
have witnessed dramatic changes in offenders,” said Commissioner Epps.
“But I also speak on behalf of the hundreds of offenders themselves who
have participated in treatment programs such as getting a GED and going
through vocational programs and they are now living very productive
lives due to the second chance given to them through such programs.”
The difference adult literacy
education makes when releasing offenders back into society where we
expect and appreciate them becoming good citizens is mind boggling.
Study after study has proven that there is a direct correlation between
providing the necessary tools and resources that enable offenders to
read and write and maintaining low recidivism rates and reduction in
crime rates due to this correctable handicap.
“Being illiterate and not having a
good educational background are two of the major reasons why most
offenders begin down the path of self-destruction,” said Commissioner
Epps. “The numbers that the agency release each year provide hope for
those returning to society, but it also provides a guide to educators
and community leaders that we need to invest more in keeping our
children in school and redirecting their lives from the prison cell back
to the classroom.”