Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $581,347)
This proposal seeks to expand and improve the academic and educational programs available to individuals in the Norfolk City Jail by providing opportunities for incarcerated adults to pursue obtaining their General Education Diploma (GED) through competency-based learning and instruction. Through wide-ranging literacy, Adult Basic Education, and GED preparation for both incarcerated men and women and systematic efforts to engage and support adult learners with the end result of receiving their GED, we can provide a stronger foundation for reentry to the community. This is done by providing educational opportunities to 250 individuals in the Norfolk City Jail identified as needing educational programming who will be returning to the Norfolk area. Participants will be low, medium, and high risk for recidivism and low to medium risk for violent tendencies, with some high risk individuals included based on their incarcerated behavior record. Students will be divided into two groups, Adult Basic Education and Adult Secondary Education. Placement in each group will be based on participant’s testing results on the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) 11 and 12. This is a standard test used to assess the knowledge level in core subject areas.
Participants will be provided with all materials needed for program success. Instructors from Norfolk Public Schools will provide instructional support to students on a set schedule. By partnering with our jurisdiction school system, we can provide seamless continuation for educational development for participants. Norfolk Public Schools will have access to participant’s progress and scoring and can continue services should participants get released from custody prior to program completion. By connecting participants to programs outside the facility that can provide continuing adult education, a broader system of support will be available to them once released.
The primary goal of the program will be to expand and improve our educational program offerings with support from educational instructors to facilitate participant’s successful completion with the aim of reducing recidivism and increasing participation in targeted services. Success can be measured by the number of participants that advance through the two groups and successfully obtain their GED, an annual review of released participants for new incarcerations, and interest from eligible incarcerated populations to participate in the program.
By providing opportunities for education and the skills to succeed after leaving custody, we strive to build a stronger, better community one student at a time.