Today the East Mississippi Correctional Facility honored its largest graduating class to date. A year ago the prison, which is located in Lost Gap, was taken over by Management and Training Corporation, which is also known as MTC. On this day more than 70 inmates there were awarded certificates.
The total number of graduates who received a GED at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility last year was 23. Each year the prison host a graduation in December and another in July. On this day 18 inmates were awarded their GED. This is putting the facility closer to reaching its goal of 45 GED graduates for this year.
"Well, MTC's philosophy is that we're going to have rehabilitation through education and programs so that when they get out and enter the world that they're going to be productive in the workforce and in society in general," says EMCF Deputy Warden, Ray Rice.
Since taking over the facility last July, MTC has established two other programs. Both are in the vocational field; one is for facility care and the other for computer technology. On this day a number of graduates were honored for completing those programs. Certificates were also awarded to inmates who have successfully finished the Substance Abuse Recovery Program that is offered at the facility.
Veteran GED instructor Bonnie Sims says completing these programs is a huge milestone for the participants.
"Because they work so hard. They are dedicated. They made sacrifices to get to class," says Sims.
Inmates who take part in the programs volunteer, and before being admitted they must have a violation free record for six months prior. Currently, a national study is underway to examine the effectiveness of these type programs.
"Everybody deserves a second chance," says Rice. "It could be any of our relatives that are in here, and we would want them treated like we would want to be treated. So, therefore we would like for them to be educated when they get out."
Currently, more than 1,150 inmates are being housed at the prison in Lost Gap.