GED Program Gains Impetus
The Lackawanna County Prison board advanced the cause of inmate rehabilitation recently by urging the commissioners to reinstate a general education diploma program at the jail. The board last week recommended that the commissioners revive the program and award the GED contract to the Outreach Center for Community Resources. The center’s predecessor, the Employment Opportunity and Training Center, operated a highly successful GED program at the jail from 2007 to 2012. If approved, the center is expected to provide GED preparation and testing to about 80 inmates annually at a cost of about $156,000, which Controller Gary DiBileo said can be covered by revenue from the prison’s canteen account. The prison also is expected to absorb about $11,200 in costs for computers, dictionaries, desks and other startup materials. Board interest in the revival of GED instruction surfaced this year after it turned aside attempts to revive the program in 2016 and 2017. Many studies document the success of prison education efforts toward decreased recidivism among inmates. Cost-benefit surveys also point to how spending on inmate education helps reduce other prison expenses. The resumption of the program would give inmates opportunities to develop abilities and make improvements that could help them pursue more productive, crime-free lives after their release. The commissioners should make the approval of the proposal and contract a priority and get the program running again.