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Ingham County Sheriff's Office inmate GED program 'off to a good start'

Ingham County Jail inmates in class as part of the ARISE program
Posted at 11:11 AM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 11:11:28-05

INGHAM COUNTY, Mich. — Earlier this month, the Ingham County Sheriff's Office launched a program to help county jail inmates obtain their GEDs while incarcerated. They call it the ARISE program. 

"ARISE is 'A Rebuilding of Individuals through Skilled trades and Education,'" Ingham County Sheriff's Office Program Coordinator Cynthia Johnson said.

"We have a partnership with the Lansing School District," Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth said. "We actually have a Lansing school teacher in here educating these young and actually sometimes middle-aged men."

There are five classes per week focused on the five GED test subjects: reading, writing, social studies, science and math.

"When I sat down there last week, it was pretty amazing to watch the interaction," Wriggelsworth said. "It was pretty amazing to watch the students have success and have the teacher and others in the room celebrate in that success."

Due to the pandemic, the program is limited to 12 inmates. Right now, there are nine.

"We're starting slowly, we're going through phases," Johnson said. "This is an old building, but we're building a new one. Once we get into that one, we'll be able to do an awful lot more as far as the technology is concerned."

"We're going to bring in some virtual reality eventually," Wriggelsworth added.

The idea for the program came about last April.

"I was notified of a program in Genesee County called IGNITE," Johnson said. "And we were able to go and do a tour there."

ARISE, modeled after IGNITE, officially launched Jan. 10.

"To increase the amount of people that one, participate and two, successfully graduate is our goal," Wriggelsworth said.

The four tests needed to obtain a GED can be administered to the inmates while they're still in the jail.

"One of the struggles we have with respect to having people actually complete their GED is their time of stay here," Wriggelsworth said. "They're a lot less likely to complete their GED when they get out, as opposed to when they're in here. So the more we can input, the more we can invest in them while they're here going to be."

For those whose time is up before they're able to obtain their GED through the program, Johnson said there will be a "wrap-around program where they'll be able to continue their GED."

"We're going to crawl before we walk, before we run, but we're off to a good start and we're excited about what the future will hold," Wriggelsworth said.

Wriggelsworth hopes the program will encourage inmates to continue their education after they are released. 

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Hannah McIlree

5:13 PM, Nov 14, 2022

Mason, Leslie

Neighborhood Reporter

Hannah McIlree