Thursday, October 28, 2004

LOCAL PRISON, COLLEGE COLLABORATE TO ENHANCE EDUCATION PROGRAMS FOR INMATES

College Credit, Certificate Program Offered in Landscape Maintenance

California State Prison, Los Angeles County (LAC) is collaborating with the Antelope Valley Fair & Alfalfa Festival and Antelope Valley College in offering a college-level program for inmates who participate in outside work crews at the fairgrounds. Crewmembers will be offered the opportunity to earn a certificate in Landscape Maintenance taught by an agricultural instructor from the college.

“Each inmate would receive 12 units of college credit and a certificate at the end of the course,” said Thomas Miguel, Supervisor of LAC’s Correctional Education Programs. “It is also possible that the curriculum could be expanded to include certificates and/or college units for welding, electrical, forklift operations, janitorial, tractor operations, plumbing, concrete, and event set-up.”

The 50th District Agricultural District (DAA) has contracted with the prison for several years for an outside work crew. The workforce has become an integral part of the organization, especially since a new facility is under construction.

“Several inmates have taken special pride in the work they have accomplished over the last eight months,” said Dan Jacobs, Fair District Manager. “They have taken part in a number of projects that have encompassed landscaping, fencing, and electrical, to name a few.”

Antelope Valley College will provide the instructor as well as college credits. The DAA will provide the facility, materials, equipment and staff to conduct classes and projects. The prison will provide the inmate work crews and correctional officers.

“This collaborative effort is a wonderful opportunity for these inmates,” said Warden Charles Harrison, “and I am sure that the training they receive will improve their successes once they are released back to their communities.”