Ingham County Jail launches new education and job training program for inmates

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – Ingham County Jail Launch a new program to give inmates a new opportunity to learn skills and gain confidence.

The program, called “ARISE” – Rebuilding Individuals Through Skilled Trades and Education – will offer inmates several classes.

The program is modeled after Genesee County’s “Ignite” program and aims to give inmates purpose through educational opportunities.

Cynthia Johnson, program coordinator for the prison, said she hoped it would end a common pattern. Johnson said it’s not just about making time, it’s about stopping the cycle they’ve fallen back on before. It’s about having a plan.

“I’ve seen people who started and had their children and grandchildren in the system. It’s something we have to stop,” Johnson said. “We have to stop this cycle. I think in order to do that, inmates need to have opportunities that they haven’t had before.

Through the new program, inmates will have the opportunity to work for their GED and learn new skilled trades. Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth said it would give inmates newfound confidence.

“A lot of guys, frankly, probably haven’t had someone say, ‘I’m proud of you,’ in a long time,” Wriggelsworth said. “And we are doing this act while they are working towards this goal.”

Other programs similar to the new ARISE program have been very successful. The Michigan Department of Corrections has launched its Vocational Training Program — Vocational Villages as they are called.

Chris Gautz of the Michigan Department of Corrections said so far they’ve seen lasting results.

“Traditionally, the employment rate for parolees has been between 30 and 40 percent. Employment rates for graduates of the vocational village program range between 60 and 70%. Gautz said. “So they’re twice as likely to be able to get out of prison with a well-paying job and career if they go through these programs.”

Ingham County Jail says the GED program is the first step. Officials plan to expand the program soon.

“We think it will be a very successful program for us. And for the people who participate in it too. And when they succeed, our community succeeds and we all win. said Wriggsworth.

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