RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – A new program is giving offenders in Augusta a chance to turn their lives around while serving time.
Now is the time for these inmates to complete their education.
“I didn’t find the time when I was out to get it and I felt like it would help me in the long run,” says Jerry Cullars
He is one of more than 30 inmates at Charles B. Webster detention center taking adult education classes three days a week to earn a GED.
“I really want to own my own business,” Cullars tells me, “but I have to crawl before I walk.”
The Richmond County Sheriffs Office and Augusta Tech teamed up to help offenders avoid going back to jail by giving them the tools they need to find work.
Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree says, “90 percent of these people in our facility are going to be released back into the population. To give them a chance to go out to be productive citizens in life and not burden the taxpayer by re-incarcerating them.”
While everyone wears orange or brown and have shackles on their feet they will each learn differently.
“Depending on where your levels are, it may take you a week, it could take you a month, it could take you three months, it could take you a year. It’s tailoring to each student,” says Angela Moseley, Executive Director of Adult Education.
“In order for them to get jobs, they have to have a high school diploma,” Captain Sheila White tells me. “That’s one of the things that we stressed when we introduced the GED program, without that it’s a hard time for them to get jobs.”
Cullars tells me, “I wasn’t trying to work in certain environments. Without having that education, it kept me from getting decent jobs so it led to crime.”
Captain White says the jail recently received an accreditation that calls for them to add programs. There were not enough women to start the program at this time.