Last month seventy-nine inmates from Dayton Correctional Institute (DCI) were honored with certificates for skills ranging from customer service all the way to supply chain management from Sinclair.
It is part of a program the college has employed at seven prisons in the state. This program has been going on at DCI, a women’s prison, for decades according to Adam Murka, the spokesperson for Sinclair. This year’s class had seventy-nine recipients, almost double the amount from last year. Over 200 credentials were awarded.
Potential students must be within five years of their release to participate and must have almost perfect attendance to earn credit.
Murka states that there have been around 424 prisoners at DCI that have earned a credential from Sinclair and around 439 certificates have been awarded total. As of 2013, the total number of inmates graduated across every prison in the program was 1,161.
Sinclair officials stated that it costs about $1,950 a year to educate an inmate, while the cost of housing an inmate is around $25,000. This cost is covered by the state.
The goal of the program is to enable inmates to fit back into society after being released and to avoid recidivism, the cycle of prisoners being released from jail and being arrested and incarcerated for repeated offenses.
In the United States the recidivism rate is 77.6 percent. Three quarters of people arrested and sent to jail in the US will be sent back there within five years of their release. Ohio however, has a 27.1 percent recidivism rate according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction in a 2014 report.
“Although a number of factors account for why some ex-prisoners succeed and some don’t, we know that a lack of education and skills is one key reason,” a 2013 study conducted by the RAND Corporation states.
One thing found from the report was inmates who participated in education programs had 43 percent lower odds of recidivating than those who did not and 13 percent better odds of finding a job. The group also believes that “Providing correctional education can be cost-effective when it comes to reducing recidivism.”
The graduation ceremony was held in the gymnasium of DCI to accommodate the larger number of recipients, and Sinclair President Steve Johnson spoke at the event.
Johnson applauded the graduates initiative to use their incarceration to get an education and better themselves.
“This kind of advanced job training program allows these young women to get the kind of training they need to get them the foundation they need to go on and further their education at Sinclair or any other university,” Johnson said.
He stressed the value of their certificates and what they mean for the bigger picture. Johnson stated that by earning certificates, they were becoming part of the community and “something bigger than any one of us.”