Ingham County Jail launches new educational, skills training program for inmates

Ingham County Jail launches education, skills program
Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 6:28 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Ingham County Jail launched a new program to give inmates a new opportunity to learn skills and build confidence.

The program, called “ARISE” -- A Rebuilding of Individuals through Skilled trades and Education -- will provide inmates with several classes.

The program modeled after Genesee County’s “Ignite” program and aims at giving inmates purpose through educational opportunities.

Cynthia Johnson, program coordinator for the jail, said she’s hoping it puts an end to a common pattern. Johnson said it’s about more than just doing time, it’s about stopping the cycle they’ve fallen back on before. It’s about having a plan.

“I’ve seen people that have started and had their children and their grandchildren in the system. It’s something we need to stop,” said Johnson. “We need to stop this cycle. I think that to do that the inmates must have the opportunities that they haven’t had before.”

Through the new program, inmates will have the opportunity to work for their G-E-D and learn new skilled trades. Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth said it will give inmates newfound confidence.

“A lot of the guys frankly, probably haven’t had somebody say, ‘I’m proud of you,’ to them in a long time,” said Wriggelsworth. “And we’re doing that act as they’re working towards this goal.”

Other programs similar to the new ARISE program have had great success. The Michigan Department of Corrections started their vocational training program -- Vocational Villages as they’re called.

Chris Gautz, with the Michigan Department of Corrections, said so far they’ve seen lasting results.

“Traditionally the parolee employment rate is between 30-40%. The graduates of vocational village program employment rates hover somewhere between 60 and 70 percent. " said Gautz. “So they’re twice as likely to be able to walk out of prison with a good-paying job and career if they go through these programs.”

The Ingham County Jail says the GED program is the first step. Officials plan to expand on the program soon.

“We think this will be a very successful program for us. And for the people involved in it as well. And when they succeed our community succeeds and we all win.” said Wriggelsworth.

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