FORSYTH —Behind barbed-wire fences and imposing guard towers, the painstaking work has begun across Georgia on building a new education prison system.
About 250 educators, administrators and other staffers have been hired to teach prisoners. Nearly 100 inmates have signed up for charter school courses. And 19 high school diplomas have already been awarded in a pilot program. But the evolving program is about to face its biggest test. The first of what Gov. Nathan Deal envisions to be a statewide network of prison-based charter schools officially opened Thursday at the Burruss Correctional Training Center in Middle Georgia, and state policymakers and education analysts will carefully chart its progress.
Already, a pilot program known as the Mountain Education Charter School has shown success at a women’s prison in North Georgia. But a second phase launched Thursday forms the backbone of Deal’s plan to ensure that thousands of inmates released from cells in prisons such as Burruss never return
“If you don’t have a high school diploma or you don’t have a marketable skill when you are released from prison, you’re not safe in our society. Desperation will set in,” the governor said. “And all of us will pay the price for that desperation.” Continue reading at the AJC