AZ Revamps Vocational Training for Inmates


Arizona’s prisons have been revamping work-based educational programs to better prepare inmates for the inevitable transition back to the community, reports the Arizona Republic. The goal is to release more inmates with marketable job skills to slash recidivism and save taxpayers the cost of housing inmates who keep cycling through the system. “Any of the old-style training for dead-end jobs is discontinued,” said Corrections Director Dora Schriro. “We are doing all that we can so we can ensure inmates are ready to take responsibility for themselves and their families.”

All of the prisons’ vocational training programs have been reassessed, with some eliminated and others moved to different prisons or rolled into new programs. Enrollment is up nearly 60 percent from a year ago, and many programs have waiting lists. At the end of June, 1,720 inmates were enrolled in work-based education. “We’re really focused on providing that real-world opportunity,” said Jo Jorgenson, an associate dean at Rio Salado College, which partners with the prison to provide programs. “We’re not going to train them in areas where they have no hope of getting a job.”


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