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James Floyd will release in two years, and he is determined to build a legitimate life for himself and his family when the time comes. During his time at Ellsworth Correctional Facility, he has finished both a welding certificate and a high school equivalency degree, which is the same as a high school diploma.
Alfred Obiero felt trapped long before he was incarcerated. He said he was on the streets in Tulsa, Okla., working a dead-end entry-level job at a bus shop. He was denied entry into a welding program because he did not have a high school diploma and was feeling hopeless. A string of bad decisions, including drinking and driving, landed him in the corrections system three years ago. He will be released in 2024, but things will be different. He will re-enter society with both a welding certificate and a high school equivalency credential.
Ellsworth Correctional Facility inmate Taylor Greenhalgh has discovered both his talent and his muse in welding. His natural ability led an instructor to stop him in the middle of a test to admire a nearly perfect weld. Before his time behind bars, Greenhalgh didn’t have many options. He said he felt stuck. With his high school equivalency credential and welding certification, a potentially bright future awaits after his release in 2026.
Barton Community College has been awarded a grant of more than $1 million, paid out over three years, to develop its already robust inmate education programming at Ellsworth Correctional Facility and Larned Correctional and Mental Health Facility.
Passion, spirit and hope were frequently used words employed by numerous speakers to describe inmate learners at the 11th Annual Learning Celebration on Tuesday evening at Ellsworth Correctional Facility. Barton Community College, Ellsworth Correctional Facility and the Kansas Department of Corrections highlighted the success of inmates who have taken the initiative to pursue their educations while incarcerated.
Daryl Beck has been incarcerated at Ellsworth Correctional Facility for nearly eight long years, but like most inmates, Beck will not be in prison forever – he will be a free man again. His release date is August 15. Beck didn’t waste his eight years. He spent them working toward an associate of general studies degree from Barton, which he is using to transfer to Kansas State University, where he plans to earn a bachelor's degree in technology management and a master's degree in technology.
Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility (LCMHF) has been home to Xavier Rodriguez for more than two years. Like more than 90 percent of offenders, Rodriguez will eventually be released back into society. Questions then remain, “Is he changed? Can he ‘make it’ without resorting to criminal activity?” According to Justice.gov, he would have a 30 percent chance of landing back in prison within six months.
Marvin Davis and Austin Brownell have been at Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility (LJCF) for nearly five years for mistakes they made as adolescents. They could have taken the path of least resistance. They could have simply served their time and walked out the door, but they didn’t. Society could have neglected the existence of the two young men for their full sentences, but it didn’t. Rather than take the easy way out, LJCF and Barton Community College made sure Davis and Brownell, and others at the facility, were given the chance to reinvent themselves, the conscientiousness to reflect on their troubled past, and the skills to write their own futures.
Xavier Pennington landed in jail in 2016 for dealing drugs. It was rock bottom, but from there he had nowhere to go but up. Now the once high-school-dropout has earned his diploma via the state GED exam through Barton Community College, and has mastered skills to earn an honest wage when he is released in November of 2019.
More than a year and a half ago, Jerry Jett was a high school dropout. He wound up arrested and incarcerated for aggravated robbery. He will be released in May. Statistically speaking, he would normally have a high likelihood of reincarceration, a trend known as recidivism. Fortunately for him, and for society, Jett spent his sentence pursuing an education through Barton Community College’s program Building Academic Skills in Correctional Settings (BASICS) at Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility. He has earned a high school diploma through the General Education Development (GED) exam, took classes on managing substance abuse, received coaching on financial management and is pursuing training in welding.