Graduating inmates to help make society safer

Posted at 7:56 PM, May 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-23 09:51:52-04

Within the next few years, these prisoners will be out on parole,

"Obviously if they're coming back, regardless, we don't want them committing more crimes because some of those crimes could be against us or a loved one or family member," explained Kevin Rose.

He's the Director of the Prison Education Initiative, a program that partners with Jackson College to help prepare prisoners for life beyond bars.

"The more tools and resources we give them to be successful, the more likely they are to come back and not have problems and be able to support their own families," Rose added.

Today, Clifford Brouster graduated with a 30-credit transfer certificate.

"I chose paths in life that I should not have chose. But, at the time I felt it to be good. But with this program, it gave me the opportunity to see a better thing," he said.

For the past two years, he and classmate W.C. Morris have taken classes together at the Parnall Corrections Facility.

"I've been in prison for the last 13 years. And, throughout my time, I've thought about what am I gonna do after I leave prison," Morris said. "And, I feel like this is a step forward to where I want to be in my life."

A step the intructors said is giving the graduates momentum to return home and be active members of their communities.

Rose explained, "Become employable, pay taxes, support their families, raise their families."

The Jackson College Faculty Chair, Dr. Gary Cale, added, "They are motivated, they found the educational experience to be life transforming. I think what the community should expect, and what they will get, are more productive citizens. Citizens that want to give back to the community."

Citizens that won't be returning to the system.

"I love to cook. So, I want to open up a restaurant and I see it possible now," Brouster said.

"I want to be a business acountant ," Morris said. "They've gotten me started, now all I gotta do is finish it."

Rose added that since classes began at the Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson County in 2012, no graduates have returned to the system after being paroled.

The program is offered at a total of 8 prisons around the state.