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Stateís Largest Prison Graduates More Than 140 GED and Occupational Trade Skills Inmates

June 9, 2011 - One of the top goals of DPSCS is to allow inmates who truly want to change the opportunity to become successful taxpaying citizens again. Education is a key part of that equation.

On June 9, the east compound education department at the sprawling Eastern Correctional Institution (ECI) graduated more than 140 men who earned their high school equivalency or certificates in occupational skills---or both.

Five of ECIís GED grads earned a score of 3,000 or higher---a tremendous achievement. In fact, as a whole, ECIís passing rate for the year has been 88%, which is far higher than the statewide average of 60%.

Nine men earned both their GED and an occupational certificate---either in masonry, carpentry, or office technology.

The graduation is a perfect example of the DPSCS mission of investing in human capital: an intense effort to educate inmates, provide skill training, and make men and women ready for a successful return to society. One of DPSCS Secretary Gary Maynardís major efforts involves increasing trade partnerships and apprenticeships so that inmates can learn more skills to prepare them for the workplace.

Speaker after speaker---including the GED and occupational classesí own inmate valedictorians--- reminded the audience with pride that you can overcome the challenges in life---challenges often made even more difficult when youíre behind bars. Some of the menís loved ones were in the audience to witness the handing out of the certificates.

Also in the bleachers that day: several dozen inmates who are currently beginning their own journey down the GED and occupational skills road. Warden Kathleen Green made sure those men were present, to make certain they could see that such a tremendous achievement can be accomplished with hard work and dedication.

DPSCS partners with the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation to provide correctional education opportunities for inmates. Itís a critical mission considering that an estimated 65-70% of all inmates come into the system without a high school diploma.

DPSCS congratulates the 140+ ECI inmate graduates and salutes the correctional teachers, principal, and prison administrators who are dedicated to the cause.