Updated: December 5, 2023
CoreCivic’s Saguaro Correctional Center in Arizona recently held a graduation ceremony for 22 student-inmates from Hawaiʻi who earned a GED, and one student-inmate, Maui-native Gregory Garcia, who earned two associate degrees and is currently working on his bachelor’s degree. Following the commencement ceremony, graduates and staff at Saguaro enjoyed a catered meal together to celebrate the special occasion.
While 2020 hindered programming efforts in correctional facilities nationwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Saguaro still helped 74 student-inmates earn a GED or industry-recognized certificate last year. As of Oct. 2021, 81 student-inmates have earned a GED or IRC at Saguaro since January.
“The pandemic presented us with some hurdles, requiring us to pause some of our educational programming for the health and safety of those in our care. Once we were able to resume our programming safely, we helped students get back on track to meet their education goals,” said Deborah Prososki, principal at Saguaro.
Student-inmates who earn a GED become qualified to move on to the next step in their education, as well as increase their chances of earning a job once they return to their communities.
“Our goal is to help these students find the best path to a successful reentry, and I believe we achieve this goal every time we celebrate a graduation at Saguaro,” said Prososki. “We are so very proud of the diligence these students have exercised along their education journey.”
Inmates who enroll in correctional education can increase their chances of securing gainful employment following release, and decrease their chances of recidivism by 43% according to research.