LUDLOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Thousands of inmates have earned their High School Equivalent Diploma’s during Sheriff Michael Ashe’s 42-years in office.
According to a news release from the Hampden County Sheriff’s office, nearly 4,800 inmates at the Hampden County Correctional Center have earned a GED. The average grade completed among the inmates who entered the program was the 10th.
The Correction Center in Ludlow has the lowest recidivism rate in the United States, and Sheriff Ashe credits that to the educational program, which according to studies, “are among the most cost-effective in reducing recidivism (return to jail) rates.”
The Sheriff’s Office stated that classes are used to prepare inmates for the current High School Equivalency test, HiSET; “One teacher focuses on math and science and the second teacher focuses on reading, writing and social studies.” They also have “Math Boot Camp,” which is six additional hours a week for more intensive prep.
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Below is a statement from Sheriff Ashe regarding the program:
The profile of the typical inmate brought to us in shackles and handcuffs over the years includes substance abuse; being a school drop-out; having no appreciable, continuous job record and no marketable skills; dealing unsuccessfully with anger; and lacking in empathy for victimized individuals and communities.
When we reduce any of this baggage we reduce the likelihood of an individual’s return to jail. Someone with a High School Diploma not only has more skills for employment, but only has an enhanced sense of their abilities and possibilities in life. I saw, and see, the relationship of educational achievement to the reduction in recidivism, and the numbers have borne that out.