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25 complete prison education program

Scott Carpenter, program supervisor for Lincoln Correctional Center, N.C. Division of Prisons, is extremely proud of the 25 May graduates of the center’s vocational education program.
This comprehensive education program provides inmates with training in welding, carpentry, electrical and plumbing. The year-long program aims to help inmates in their transition back to their communities.
“After they graduate from the diploma program, we assist those eligible for work-release by helping them (find) a job in the specialty they took in the school,” Carpenter said.
Fred Hatley, Clerk of Court for Lincoln County, provided the commencement address to this year’s graduates. He stressed the importance of bettering oneself through education.
He told the men, “Everyone deserves a second chance. If I need an electrician or a plumber, I would not mind you coming to my house to fix my problems.”
“Completing the program gives the men a great sense of accomplishment. For many of them, it’s the first time they’ve completed anything,” according to Carpenter. “They have a chance.”
Carpenter’s experience has been that the inmates who complete this special program rarely return to prison.
Tim Schronce recruits participants for the comprehensive program from across the state. Those selected for the program are transferred to the Lincoln Correctional Center. Criteria for selection include no prison infractions, no drug usage and a remaining sentence of at least one year due to the length of the program. A new crop of participants will start the program later this month.
Tough economic times have made it hard to place all graduates. Anyone needing help in these skilled trades is asked to contact Carpenter at (704) 735-0485.
by Martha K. Seagle

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