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Correction Programs in the News


Inmates do time with music at Deer Ridge in Madras
April 28, 2013
MADRedu_drcm_music.jpgAS — Time is the one thing that the in¬mates she works with have plenty of. And some of them use it to master a musical instrument. Joe Umphery, 30, has been in prison for the last five years. Three years ago, he picked up the guitar and started teaching himself to play. 
“It took me a month to learn how to play one little simple tune,” he said. Now, he practices alone for three hours a day, seven days a week. He takes classes in music theory, which he said is surprisingly similar to math. And he spends another two hours each week playing in a prison band called ... PDF


A COCC entrepreneurship class gives Deer Ridge inmates the skills to look forward
April 29, 2013
MADRAS — If you close your eyes, Kwajo Assuman sounds like the consummate entrepreneur. He’s confident. He can explain clearly how his business venture would stand apart from its competition. His pitch sounds sincere and well-researched, not gimmicky. Don’t open your eyes yet. Assuman, 23, will be wearing a prison uniform until February.
Last summer, Assuman was one of 24 inmates at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution who completed a Central Oregon Community College class called “Launch Your Business.” It was the first time the course had been offered... PDF


TVCC GED program offers SRCI inmates new opportunities

October 18, 2011 

ONTARIO — While trying to cut down on recidivism, Treasure Valley Community College and Snake River Correctional Institution have teamed up to provide an opportunity for inmates to earn their GED.

“Research clearly indicates that inmates that obtain high education levels while incarcerated are less likely to return to prison,” Eddie Alves, TVCC’s director of correctional education, said about the program. “That is why the ODOC (Oregon Department of Corrections) supports education. The entire department continues to work toward research solutions to recidivism... PDF 

Inmates need education to succeed in life
June 18, 2011
The best final student presentations I've heard in 16 years happened recently in a small group communication class.
Some might be surprised that these speeches happened inside the Mill Creek Correctional Facility, where 12 incarcerated Chemeketa Community College students study alongside seven other students through the College Inside program. These students presented well-researched project proposals that... PDF 

SRCI offers college classes through WCT grant
December 9, 2010
A noncompetitive federal grant is allowing a small group of Snake River Correctional Institution inmates the opportunity to leave the prison with something special when they’ve served their sentences: an associate’s degree.
Eddie Alves, Treasure Valley Community College director of education at SRCI, said the Oregon Department of Corrections is using the funding from the Grants to States for Workplace and Community Transition Training for Incarcerated Individuals program to contract with TVCC to provide courses leading to an Associate Of Arts Oregon Transfer Degree... PDF 

Oregon's College Inside Program educating inmates
December 6, 2010  
Programs educating prisoners go by many different names: College Behind Bars, Correctional Education, and College Inside, but they all share a common result, lower recidivism rates. Recidivism is a relapse into a previous behavior. The government sends criminals to jail for two reasons, public safety and correctional treatment. Prisoners who wait to be released show higher recidivism when they get out than those who are taught something while they are in. By educating Oregon inmates, these programs change the prisoners’ thoughts rather than just punishing them for their misbehavior. Correctional education sets roots for the inmates to create new lives for
themselves... PDF 

Students benefit from prison classroom exchange
College Inside Prison Classroom  
February 4, 2010  
Program promotes collaboration between students and inmates
University students can go far beyond the classroom setting through the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, a course where students take collaborative classes with prisoners at Oregon State Penitentiary.

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program was developed at Temple University in Philadelphia in 1997. The program’s purpose is to provide a unique learning experience for college students, called “outside students,” to interact with “inside students” in prison. Criminal justice and related social issues were the main focuses of those classes... PDF 

Education can pack life-changing clout for prison inmates
EOCI SRCI Prison Graduation  
December 29, 2009
Reporter Kathy Aney's recent story in the EO on what has happened to two prison inmates after release could serve as a good conversation starter in this time of depleted budgets for education and other public services.
Her report told the story of Michael Lucia, who spent eight years in Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Pendleton before release into a scary world. But his decision to join a clock repair class and to earn a GED certificate in EOCI helped his chances. Even though his income from repairing clocks and cars is below what he made as a truck driver years ago, he feels happy about his present situation and about his future.
The story also reports on a former prison inmate, David Koch, who went from cleaning floors to attending flight school to become a flight instructor. He started a green energy company and wrote a book on his prison experience. These days, Koch gives seminars to inmates and runs a company which helps inmates with incubator businesses... PDF 

Prison welding teaches, inspires
DRCI Prison Welding Vocational Training  
Rob Kerr / The Bulletin
So say the inmates taking the class at Deer Ridge. For them, it's a reason to get up in the morning and, maybe, a trade they can use once they're outside.
Next week, the welding class at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution in Madras will break for the holidays. The inmates won't have to be at class at 8 a.m., they won't be welding until late into the afternoon, and they can get through the week without working on any difficult math problems.
And they are dreading it.
“It's horrible; you just sit around,” said Sam Hamby, 28, who has been in Deer Ridge for nine months for property crimes and is one of the tutors in the class... PDF 

Inmates at EOCI enroll in classes to prepare for life after prison
Inmate grins at his teacher’s comment during class at EOCI.  
December 16, 2009  
Sam Wilson, blonde and boyish, would look at home on any college campus. Instead, the 21-year-old spends his days on another kind of campus - the one inside the walls of the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution.
Wilson ended up behind bars after a drunken high-speed chase that left a woman dead.
Now Wilson, who entered prison shortly after his high school graduation, said the prison's education system is a way out of the murk.
"Education is the only way I can grow up," he said recently, "so I don't get out of here with an 18-year-old mentality."
Wilson, set to emerge from prison in 2017, was one of about 20 inmates who answered questions during a recent symposium at EOCI, a sort of show-and-tell for Blue Mountain Community College employees who work at the school's main campus. BMCC has provided instruction at EOCI since 1984... PDF 

Anonymous donor helps pay bill for prisoners to go to college behind bars
December 8, 2009,
SALEM -- At Chemeketa Community College, they call him The Investor. He's a Salem businessman, but he wishes to remain anonymous.
Nancy Green, director of corrections education for Chemeketa, took the man's call that day in 2007. "He said he wanted to help and asked me to write up a plan," Green said. "I said to myself, 'Yeah, right. This is not going to happen.'"
But it did.
In the past two years, The Investor has donated $294,000 so that kidnappers, bank robbers and other felons at three state prisons can go to college behind bars.
His latest gift, just in time for Christmas this year, is $15,000 for women inmates at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville to buy books for themselves... PDF 

Education is crucial to crime
Max Williams Director Oregon Department of Corrections  
October 28, 2009 
As the director of the Oregon Department of Corrections, I may seem an unlikely person to be asked to speak at the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation luncheon about the importance of education. But every day I see first hand the need for a quality education system. The relationship between Corrections and education is closer and more intertwined than you might think.
Over the past five and a half years, I have regularly heard the phrase "lock them up and throw away the key." What most people don't know is that 93 percent of all Oregon inmates will
be released back into our communities. So locking up inmates and throwing away the key doesn't work if you want them to be productive members of society when they go home. For the vast majority of offenders, our job is to help give them the needed skills to be successful... PDF 

Reaching inside from the outside...
An OSU sociology class behind bars benefits students and inmates  
An OSU sociology class behind bars
June 7, 2009
An OSU sociology class behind bars benefits students and inmates 
Most college classes don't require students to go through a metal detector, turn in their photo identification for a numbered badge or make their way through a series of locked doors. Then again, most college classes aren't held inside a prison.
For a handful of Oregon State University students, the Oregon State Correctional Institute in Salem is their Tuesday evening classroom for an "Inside-Out" sociology class... PDF 

First inmates earn GEDs at Madras state prison
DRCI Prison GED Graduation  
It was a day of celebrating, at a place you may not expect: prison.
Behind the barbed wire and fences, hundreds of inmates at the Deer Ridge Correctional Institution near Madras are hitting the books, working toward their GED’s.
It's a series of tests equivalent to a high school education and after a lot of hard work, the first graduating class earned theirs... PDF 

University students add to state prison's library
March 30, 2008
EUGENE — A group of students at the University of Oregon is helping spruce up the library at another kind of school—the one of hard knocks.
They were among the first to take part in a new state program, going to Salem once a week to take a class alongside a group of inmates at the Oregon State Penitentiary. Now they’re gathering books to help their former classmates maintain their newfound appreciation of literature.
Katherine Philipson, a sophomore majoring in international studies, said the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program allowed her to see prisoners and the prison system in a different light... PDF