U.S. education secretary addresses student inmates at Limestone - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

U.S. education secretary addresses student inmates at Limestone

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)

The secretary of the U.S. Department of Education visited the Tennessee Valley Wednesday morning as part the department's back-to-school tour.

Governor Robert Bentley and Alabama Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn welcomed Secretary John King behind the gates of Limestone Correctional Facility. King spoke about education and prison reform during his tour of north Alabama's largest prison.

"It's critical that we make sure that folks who that are incarcerated get skills that allow them to be successful in the economy when they live prison, otherwise, folks will end up right back in prison,” King said.

The goal is not prison re-entry, but rather a second and better chance through education. This year, Limestone was chosen to launch a program allowing inmates to earn college credit through institutions like Calhoun Community College.

Once the student inmates finish their sentences, they can complete their degrees at certain colleges and universities.

One student inmate, Timothy Wallace, has been locked up for eight years and has been learning how to draft. He hopes this opportunity is just a rough draft of the new future he's creating for himself.

"I have drawn every building on this facility,” he said.

The Limestone Correctional Facility is one of less than 70 prisons nationwide to pilot the Second Chance Program.

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