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A college graduation inside a Jackson prison

Jackson College Corrections Education Program
Jackson College Corrections Education Program
Jackson College Corrections Education Program
Posted at 3:58 AM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 03:58:48-04

JACKSON, Mich. — On Monday, 34 inmates at the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility graduated from college.

It’s part of Jackson College’s Corrections Education program.

Jackson College Corrections Education Program graduation
Jackson College Corrections Education Program graduation

Avantis Parker graduated with honors, earning an associate degree in business administration. His mom and his wife said his hard work will lay a foundation for him when he gets out.

“It made all the difference in the world,” Parker’s mom, Felecia Vojcek, said. “Helping him get through some of this time that he had, to be focused on something, to have a goal and just to have his time occupied while he’s in here.”

His wife, Sophie Parker, says he wants to work in real estate once he is released.

“He also wanted to do some stuff for housing for people to get released into society, to have some sort of housing that they can go to that supports them more, which helps them go to school and get a job and for people to go home and have something to look forward to,” she said.

Jackson College Corrections Education program
Jackson College Corrections Education program

To qualify for the program, these men had to have at least earned their high school diploma, be in a lower corrections security level, have six months of clear conduct, have financial support to cover tuition and be within in 30 to 96 months of their earliest release date.

“These individuals are human beings that are part of our overall humanity,” Jackson College President Daniel Phelan said. “We have a responsibility to understand their debt has been paid and welcome them back into the community as engaged citizens participating in a time where we really need help in the workplace.”

Recent graduate Nathaniel Latham spoke on what his degree means for his future.

“It has allowed me to define clearly what I want and actively confront the future,” he said. “When we do that, we turn our potentiality into actuality.”

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