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WUNC's education coverage is led by reporters Dave Dewitt and Reema Khrais. Dewitt has been with the station since 2003. Khrais is focused on Education Policy Reporting. Browse recent stories here.

Cumberland County Jail Program Gives Inmates A Shot At A High School Diploma

Cumberland County Sheriff's Office

Inmates at the Cumberland County Detention Center can now study for a high school equivalency test while they await release or trial.

Major Tandra Adams said the program offers inmates a way to improve their lives while they're incarcerated.

"We’re helping these individuals get back on their feet, so that when they do re-enter society, they have tools up under their belts to help them be a good part of the society," said Adams.

The 10-week study courses are mandatory for juveniles in the facility and optional for other inmates.

A prior program offered through Fayetteville Technical Community College was dropped due to budget cuts, but last summer, Cumberland County Commissioners agreed to allocate $18,400 annually to hire private education firm Global Learning Center to administer the courses.

Adams said the classes are in high demand among inmates.

"They are very excited about it," she said. "You know, the ones that didn't think they would ever have the chance to complete school, they are very happy that we brought this program back in to the jail."

Since the program launched in 2015, 17 inmates have completed the course, five have passed the test, and many more have taken classes.

Adams said inmates who complete coursework and are released on bond or moved to different facilities are still eligible to take the test through Fayetteville Tech.

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