Oakland City University implemented the prison ministry program to eight correctional facilities in the Southern Region of Indiana in August 2012.
During the most recent Indiana State evaluations, Oakland City University's correctional education programs received a grade report of an A+ for the 2012-13 school year. Adult education instructors also received evaluation reports based on the public school RISE model. Sixteen academic and ten vocational teachers exceeded expectations for the 2012-13 school year.
OCU Staff and Students awarded at ICJA Conference
Oct 15, 2014 at 11:15 AM
Dr. Barber Featured Speaker at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility Graduation
Jun 20, 2014 at 3:34 PM
CARLISLE- Wabash Valley Correctional Facility inmates beamed with pride as they walked across the stage during graduation ceremony at the facility Thursday afternoon. They each wore traditional caps and gowns as they were handed the certificates they worked hard towards earning.
The certificates they received varied from high school equivalency to vocational and apprenticeship offered through the Department of Labor. They specialized in various fields including landscaping, office management, food service, teacher’s aide, general maintenance, printing, sanitation and barbering.
Many of the graduates’ family members were in attendance to witness what correctional officials claim is an important step in the re-entry process upon leaving the facility.
Not only does participation in the educational and vocational programs help reduce incarceration time by six months, it also provides employment enhancing skills for offenders upon their release.
Gaining valuable clerical skills was a motivator for James Whatley, 47, of Chicago. He said it took him three years of studying and preparation to get to Graduation Day.
James Dunn, 21, of Indianapolis, said earning the High School Equivalency Certificate was a bit of a challenge on the mathematics portion of study, but he is glad he made it through.
“It feels great,” Dunn said.
Darik Morell, 31, of Evansville agrees that it was a worthwhile program. He earned a General Education Diploma.
“It feels good; I’ve got my family here to see me get my certificate,” Morell said.
Education Programs Director James Hendrix addressed the audience before introducing Dr. Ray Barber, president of Oakland City University, as the featured speaker for the 150 Wabash Valley graduates and their guests. Hendrix explained the “hurdles” many of the inmates had to overcome— things many others take for granted—such as learning to read or write and other learning disabilities or self-esteem issues. He credits intense tutoring and mentorship in the facility to helping each graduate reach his goals. Barber noted that commencement is the beginning, not a conclusion for these men.
“Because it is the beginning of a new journey in your life, a new path with new choices,” Barber said. “Continue to make good choices in your life and continue using your mind.” He urged them to be ready for opportunity. The graduates and their family members were able to have pictures taken together and enjoy refreshments after the ceremony.
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