According to Tulsa Community College, in 2017, 57 Oklahoma inmates graduated with a degree or certificate through the partnership program.
Some of the degrees and certificates earned by the inmate graduates have been Landscape Design Specialist and Business User Certificate, demonstrating that inmates may have hopes of making a new honorable start when they’re released from the correctional facility.
And that’s just what TCC is hoping to do. “The certificate and degree options available in the TCC Corrections Education are designed to help offenders find employment upon release,” said TCC President & CEO Leigh B. Goodson in 2017.
Apparently, it’s not all just for show, either. According to TCC, with Oklahoma inmates graduated, the recidivism rate is five percent, whereas with non-graduates it’s 20 percent. In addition to saving prison funding money, the individuals are often able to reduce their number of years in prison when they earn a degree.
So the fact that the Oklahoma inmates graduated is a win for everyone!
One graduate, Darrell Elliott told reporters, “The program actually…I know it says second chance, but for some people, it’s like the first chance.”
Darrell Elliott hopes to use his knowledge and degree when he gets out for a business in event planning and landscaping. He told reporters, “It took a lot of work, but it means everything to me. It was well worth it.”
Watch parts of the graduation on a local Tulsa TV station report: