Impact Georgia Magazine - Regaining Momentum - Page 15



The Correctional Education Association and the United States Department of Education work together to provide the Georgia Department of Corrections ( GDC ) offenders with various educational opportunities . Research suggests that offenders who participate in educational programs while incarcerated are less likely to return to prison . Although a portion of the fiscal year 2020 consisted of a non-traditional classroom setting , offenders completed 6,007 programs , which helped prepare them to take their GED .
The 2020 academic year brought unexpected hurdles for educational programs , but thanks to dedicated staff , offenders could continue working toward their goals of completing their General Equivalency Diploma ( GED ). Traditionally , the GDC partners with the Technical College System of Georgia ( TCSG ) to deliver laptop-based GED testing services each month , but due to the

“ Once an offender has earned their GED , they have opened a door to additional learning opportunities ”

- Instructor Buhmann
consequences of COVID-19 , TCSG instructors were unable to come into the facility . After much planning and re-working classes , educational instructors with the GDC proposed creating a team of GDC employees responsible for delivering paper-based exams to offenders . By October 2020 , the GDC signed the memorandum of understanding with TCSG and GED Testing Services to make this proposal a reality and bring back normalcy for offenders who had work hard to achieve their GED . The paper-based testing allows for the test
to be taken at any point , which requires less scheduling and transportation for the facilities and easy rescheduling for any offender who misses their original test . The paper-based testing system allows more flexibility for the agency and is an additional benefit for an offender ’ s education .
Throughout the state , educational instructors have worked hard to keep up the momentum of the agency ’ s academic programs . Instructor Buhmann from Dooly State Prison acknowledges that staff from each facility has come together during this time . She stated , “ We remain dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all offenders ... Education has already adjusted to the “ new normal ” and is continuing to produce graduates and change lives .”
As of January 2021 , over 200 offenders have been able to take their GED exam on a paper test successfully . Offering the GED exam during these untraditional times has brought a sense of normalcy to offenders , staff , and the facilities . The agency hopes to continue having employees who administer the test and allow education programs to grow exponentially .
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