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Friday, June 22, 2012 - 1:31pm

Deal Wants More Inmate Education

State officials are working to increase the number of prison inmates who have access to skills training and remedial high school coursework. The goal is to train prisoners for jobs so they don’t re-offend.

Governor Nathan Deal wants inmates to be employable when they leave the state’s prisons.

And he wants prisoners to fill jobs in fields such as commercial truck driving that need workers.

Prisoners already take welding and plumbing courses.

Deal’s spokesman, Brian Robinson, says since this move expands on existing efforts, it won’t require legislation.

“We have full authority to expand educational programs in the department of corrections now so we think this is an administrative fix," he said. "It’s something he’s doing as executive of the state to make the department of corrections work better and to make sure that when people come out, they can be a net plus to society, not a net minus.”

Deal's office is working with the state’s Technical College System to boost the number inmates who have access to skills training.

Mike Light is a spokesman for the Technical College System and a former corrections official. He says inmates need basic education and job training.

“Well over half of the inmate population doesn’t have a high school education so it’s critical that every inmate has some kind of access to a GED while they’re in prison," he said. "Giving a person a GED gives them a step up when they walk back out into the real world and need to start looking for a job.”

State officials say if more prisoners are educated and don’t wind up re-offending, the state will save money on corrections.

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