LIFE CHANGING SKILLS
HIGHER EDUCATION = LOWER RECIDIVISM
Barton Community College and the Kansas Department of Corrections are giving inmates the opportunity to improve themselves through education, which is contributing to the change in how prisons are perceived.
More than 80 inmates were recognized during the Ninth Annual Learning Celebration in October 2013 at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility for reaching milestones in their educations through Barton’s Building Academic Skills In Correctional Settings (BASICS) program.
Jason, an inmate for about two decades, was put in prison at age 16. He had a fifth-grade education and struggled with reading and writing, but managed to earn his GED in 2001 at another prison. After the current semester, he will have 36 hours toward his associate degree, and eventually a bachelor’s degree.
“It’s a goal, and it gives me something to live for,” he said. “I want to educate myself the entire time I’m incarcerated. It was really like a life-changing event when I started taking classes. I had spent about 17 years in prison, and had many left to go. I just thought to myself, ‘What am I going to do, just sit here and rot in prison, and then just fade away?’ I took English Composition 1, and it was just a whole other world. It was like parts of my brain were stimulated that had never been touched before.”
“I was 16-years-old for 20 years,” he said. “I think I’m finally growing up.”