Can I earn my GED, college degree or a graduate degree while I am in prison?
Each prison has an education department. The education department provides a variety of programs and services for inmates. Included within the general scope of the education department are programs ranging from recreation to academic and vocational/occupational training. A GED program is offered, and it is mandatory for you to attend GED classes if you cannot prove that you graduated from high school or have a GED. You can refuse to attend GED classes, but the consequences are rather steep.
They can stick you in a job that may be hard for you to tolerate, pay you very little each month and restrict how much you can spend in the commissary each month. Most heinous is the fact that they will not send you to a half way house if you refuse to attend GED classes, thereby extending the amount of time you have to spend in prison. The good news is that if you take the final GED test and pass, they will deposit $50 into your commissary account.
I can understand why the federal government wants you to get your GED. There are many studies that show a lack of a high school education is directly related to crime. I’ve interviewed hundreds of inmates coming into the camp I am doing time at, and I am just amazed at how many of them do not have education past the 9th grade. The percentage of them is staggering. If any parents are reading this, for gosh sakes, do what you can to keep your kids in school. There is nothing preventing you from obtaining a college degree while you are in prison, except for the cost and all the red tape the bureaucracy puts in your way. Still, if you can afford it, and have the desire to work through all the bullshit at the prison level, then you can most assuredly earn your college degree while in prison.
Get with the education department as quickly as possible, and they will already know which colleges they have worked with in the past that might be best suited for you to apply to. If you have a school in mind already that the education department has not worked with, then be prepared to jump through some hoops. Graduate degrees are a little harder to earn, but it can still be done. I know of at least one inmate who has earned two masters degrees while in prison, but got stuck at the doctorial level when a residency requirement of the college got in his way. Still, to earn a bachelors degree and two masters degrees says a lot about the motivation of this particular inmate. There is no doubt in my mind that once he is out of prison, getting a doctorate’s degree will be no problem for him. There is also something called Adult Continuing Education (ACE) classes that most prisons offer. These classes are taught by other inmates on all kinds of subjects of interest.
Filed under: Prison Life
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