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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Julie L. Jones

Florida Department of Corrections
Julie L. Jones, Secretary

Press Release
October 20, 2009
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
(850) 488-0420

More Department of Corrections Inmates Earning GED Certificates

The three “R’s” – reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic – may soon be joined by a fourth – re-entry. Re-entry, the concept of providing inmates with the tools to succeed upon re-entry into society after prison, is a part of the public safety mission of the Florida Department of Corrections.

The number of inmates earning GED certificates jumped 49% over the last two years, from 1,953 GED certificates earned in fiscal year 2008-09, compared to 1,313 in FY 2006-07, an increase of 640 more certificates earned. That increase only reflects the number of inmates who passed all five parts of the test:  reading, language and writing (including an essay), math, social studies and science. Many more inmates passed sections of it and will be retaking those sections to complete their GEDs in the coming year.

“Studies show that inmates who have a GED when they’re released from prison recidivate at a rate 7.9% less than inmates overall,” said Department of Corrections Secretary Walt McNeil. “An inmate with an education has a better chance of getting a job, and not coming back to prison. It’s not just an education issue, it’s a public safety issue.”

The three prisons with the highest number of GEDs earned were Sumter (CI and Boot Camp) with 153, Brevard (CI and Work Camp) with 129, and Lancaster CI with 110. Two are Youthful Offender facilities, which historically have a higher number of GEDs earned because they have a larger number of teachers available, due to supplemental funds provided by the federal government for youthful offenders.

The increase in GEDs earned can be attributed to a combination of factors, including:

  • reallocating academic teacher positions, allowing the Department to reopen 18 institutional education programs and to increase total student enrollment by 70%’
  • implementing quarterly testing cycles beginning in FY 2007-08, which allowed our education programs to more quickly identify students’ educational deficiencies and to provide remedial instruction;
  • greater use of inmate teaching assistants, working under the supervision of academic teachers, to provide small-group instruction and one-on-one tutoring to students;
  • establishing computer-based reading/testing laboratories in 18 education programs through a $500,000 special legislative appropriation in FY2006-07; and,
  • implementing creative and innovative ideas such as opening and supporting literacy programs at work camps.

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