Jail administrators deem GED program successful - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Jail administrators deem GED program successful

Officials say inmates who get their GED are getting out - and staying out - of jail. (Source: WAFF) Officials say inmates who get their GED are getting out - and staying out - of jail. (Source: WAFF)

A program at the Madison County jail is helping hundreds get an education. Not to mention, the inmates that get their GEDs are getting out and staying out of jail. Administrators call it a success - and they have the numbers to prove it.

More than 200 adults have graduated with their GEDs in the past few years. Calhoun Community College provides the educators, books and computers for the GED course.

Another program, Life Light, is aimed at helping the youth in the Madison County Jail. At least six have received their GED. That's actually a lot considering the juvenile population in Madison County jail is low - less than 10 are incarcerated right now.

Life Light is run by Program Specialist Terrill Tasker, with the aid of nearly a dozen volunteers. People come in and teach everything from math, to reading, to prep courses gearing up for that GED.

Officials said nearly every single person, both adult and juvenile who graduate with their GED, stays out of trouble once they’re out. Tasker said that has a lot to do with the connection formed between inmate and educator.

"They form such strong bonds with these young people, that sometimes they will follow them," Tasker said. "After they've turned 18 and they're still here. They will follow them and still come in and mentor them."

Sandra Christian volunteers to mentor and teach juveniles. She said it is a rewarding task that makes a difference in the community.

"The biggest change that I see is that they gain confidence in themselves,” said Christian. “And they don't seem as scared to move on."

The adult GED program through Calhoun operates in Morgan and Limestone Counties as well as the Limestone Correctional Facility. Together, hundreds of inmates are taking - and developing - a new lease on life.

If you are interested in volunteering to help educate and mentor juveniles as part of the Life Light program, call 256-519-4818. With more volunteers, more inmates can work towards graduating with a GED.

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