RICHMOND — When we think of teachers, we usually picture schools teaming with children or ivory covered campuses, but teachers are also hard at work in the state’s prisons. Approximately 240 educators enter Virginia’s adult prisons every day, working to help inmates change their lives through education. This week, the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) joins the rest of the nation in celebrating National Teacher Appreciation Week.
“The first priority of the Department of Corrections is public safety. We don’t want to see offenders return to prison. Education plays a crucial role in helping men and women return successfully to their communities as law-abiding citizens,” said VADOC Director Harold Clarke.
Education is a proven tool for reducing recidivism and fighting crime. A 2007 study by Virginia Tech indicated that Career and Technical Education (CTE) program completers return to prison by a factor of 20.6 percent less than non-completers. This translates into $7.63 saved for every dollar spent on those programs.
In FY 2012-13 the Department of Corrections celebrated the following outcomes:
- 1,093 students earned a GED
- 1,727 students earned a Career Readiness Certificate
- 1,730 students completed a CTE program
- 1,769 students earned an Industry Based Certification
“Our teachers are not usually recognized for their daily contributions to their students or to public safety. They are among the unsung heroes who rarely receive the accolades they deserve,” said VADOC Superintendent of Education Wayne Bennett.
VADOC provides appropriate educational opportunities for men and women incarcerated in the Commonwealth’s prisons. Programs focus on the academic and vocational, life skills and re-entry. Improved academic skills, vocational skills, and cognitive skills increase the chances that an offender will succeed following incarceration.
“We thank the teachers of the Department of Corrections for helping to create public safety in the Commonwealth of Virginia by improving the lives of their students and creating opportunities and possibilities for them,” said Director Clarke.
More information on the VADOC can be found at www.vadoc.virginia.gov.