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October 26, 2014

Education

The Department of Public Safety and Corrections is required by R.S. 15:828(A)(1) to establish programs including education and vocational training for the rehabilitation of all persons committed to and in the physical custody of the department, consistent with available resources. Additionally, R.S. 15:828(B) requires the department secretary to prescribe rules and regulations in the facilities and institutions under the department’s jurisdiction to encourage voluntary participation by inmates in literacy, academic (ABE/GED), and vocational-technical programs. As outlined on this website, all 12 state institutions provide literacy, academic (ABE/GED), and vocational-technical instruction to more than 4000 state inmates each month and maintain more than 1300 on waiting lists for education enrollment.

Participation & Eligibility

Each of the 12 institutions may set criteria for program eligibility, but it is the responsibility of the inmate to request placement in an educational program. Only inmates who exhibit an above satisfactory level of behavior are considered for enrollment in any educational classroom environment, although independent study programs are also offered to all offenders.

Once accepted, inmates are screened for appropriate program placement by the institution’s education department prior to actual enrollment. The priority for program enrollment is based on sentence length, with those inmates who are nearing release being placed higher on the waiting list for admission into an educational program.

Life/Death Row Eligibility

Inmates with life sentences are permitted to participate in educational programs to assist with prison management after graduation. This incentive gives lifetime inmates a form of self-improvement and hope for the future, making them more likely to attain a skilled trusty job within state and public service agencies.

Death row inmates are not allowed to attend formal classes; however, this population is provided with literacy, academic, or post-secondary correspondence information upon request. Inmates are also allowed to check out educational materials from the institution’s library via mobile cart delivery.

Video Learning

The department utilizes institutional televisions to broadcast educational programming via the Corrections Learning Network and the Louisiana Public Broadcast System. This system provides inmates with educational programming during idle times, including death row inmates.

Goodtime Incentives

The Department provides goodtime incentives of up to 540 days to offenders who participate and improve their educational functioning level.  The guidelines for earning educational goodtime are outlined in Department Regualtion B-04-003 “Certified Treatment and Rehabilitation Program (CTRP) Good Time Credits and Adding New CTRP Programs.”

Funding Sources

Although the Department provides majority funding for academic courses taught in state institutions, other sources provide additional support and funding for these academic offerings: Department of Education Special School District #1; Title I Federal Grant Funding; Adult Education State/Federal Grant Funding; local school systems; and inmate organizations. Academic programming at the two privately-operated institutions, Winn Correctional Center and Allen Correctional Center, are funded by the Corrections Corporation of America and Parkview Baptist School, respectively.

The Louisiana Community & Technical College System works with the Department and provides the majority of all vocational-technical programming. These LCTCS programs are supplemented with other state and federal grants such as Transition Training Grant for Incarcerated Individuals and funding through the Louisiana Workforce Commision.  Additionally, some vocational programs located at the two privately-operated institutions, Winn Correctional Center and Allen Correctional Center, are funded by the Corrections Corporation of America and Parkview Baptist School, respectively.

Academic Programs

Academic programs provide inmates with sufficient educational offerings to earn a high school diploma or enter a vocational-technical or post-secondary training program. All academic classes are taught and monitored by state certified educators. The department offers the following academic programs to inmates.

Literacy

Literacy classes are offered at all state prisons to serve those offenders who read below the 5th grade level. These classes are taught and monitored by certified educators hired by the Department and tutors who are tested and trained by the institutions’ education staff.

Adult Basic Education (ABE)

ABE classes are offered in conjunction with GED Preparation classes and are taught by certified educators hired by the Department or the Louisiana Community & Technical College System.

These classes are offered to those inmates who may have earned a high school diploma, but lack the academic skills necessary to enroll in a vocational-technical or post-secondary program due to the time-lapse since the last formal education participation. Participating offenders must have a reading level of 5th grade or above and a goal of entering a vocational-technical program.

GED Preparation

GED classes are offered in conjunction with ABE classes and are taught by certified educators hired by the Department. GED classes are offered to those inmates who have never earned a high school diploma and read at a level of 5th grade or above.

DWCC_Classroom

Special Education

The department provides special education programming through the Louisiana Department of Education Special School District to inmates who qualify by age criteria and have behavioral, emotional, and/or learning disorders as diagnosed by a Special School District diagnostician. These classes are offered in conjunction with other literacy, ABE, and GED preparation programs according to the student’s academic achievement level.

POST-SECONDARY – VOCATIONAL/TECHNICAL

The Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) provides instruction for most post-secondary training courses offered in state institutions. The Department provides in-kind services such as use of facilities, utilities, and building maintenance in lieu of tuition. In accordance with business and industry demands, an ever-changing variety of post-secondary/vocational-technical training courses are offered to the state’s offender population. Infrastructure and funding limitations determine when and which courses are offered at each institution. Although there is a constant fluctuation in vocational-technical programming, some industrial high-demand programs remain stable. These include:

Automotive Technology

  • Avoyelles Correctional Center
  • David Wade Correctional Center
  • Louisiana State Penitentiary
  • C. Paul Phelps Correctional Center
  • Rayburn Correctional Center
  • Winn Correctional Center

DWCC Carpentry

Carpentry

  • Allen Correctional Center
  • David Wade Correctional Center
  • Elayn Hunt Correctional Center
  • Louisiana State Penitentiary
  • Rayburn Correctional Center
  • Winn Correctional Center

Collision Repair Technology

  • Avoyelles Correctional Center
  • Dixon Correctional Institute
  • Louisiana State Penitentiary
  • Winn Correctional Center

Commercial Sewing

  • Phelps Correctional Center

Computer Specialist/Office Systems

  • Allen Correctional Center
  • La. Correctional Institute for Women
  • Winn Correctional Center

Culinary Arts

  • Allen Correctional Center
  • Avoyelles Correctional Center
  • Elayn Hunt Correctional Center
  • La. Correctional Institute for Women
  • Louisiana State Penitentiary
  • Rayburn Correctional Center
  • Winn Correctional Center

Diesel Powered Engine Technology

  • Avoyelles Correctional Center

Electrical

  • Louisiana State Penitentiary

Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Technology

  • David Wade Correctional Center
  • Elayn Hunt Correctional Center
  • Forcht Wade Correctional Center
  • Louisiana State Penitentiary

Heavy Equipment Operations

  • Avoyelles Correctional Center

AVC Horticulture

Horticulture

  • David Wade Correctional Center
  • Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women
  • Louisiana State Penitentiary
  • Winn Correctional Center
  • Allen Correctional Center

Masonry

  • Avoyelles Correctional Center

Outdoor Power (Small) Engine Technology

  • C. Paul Phelps Correctional Center
  • Elayn Hunt Correctional Center
  • Rayburn Correctional Center

Plumbing

  • J. Levy Dabadie Correctional Center

Upholstery

  • Allen Correctional Center
  • Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women

Welding

  • David Wade Correctional Center
  • Elayn Hunt Correctional Center
  • Louisiana State Penitentiary
  • C. Paul Phelps Correctional Center
  • Rayburn Correctional Center

 

Educational Staff

Education Director

The Education Director for Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections is charged with the oversight of all educational programs offered at each of the state’s 12 correctional facilities. This oversight includes program funding, accreditation, reporting, industrial certification, governing regulations, program compliance issues, and coordination with other state agencies.

Institutional Education Supervisors

Most of the large institutions hire an Institutional Education Supervisor who is charged with the oversight of the institution’s educational programs. This oversight includes offender screening, enrollment, testing, education expenditures, accreditation, reporting, training certification, education policies, and coordination with other institutional services.

Teachers

More than 120 teachers are hired by the Department and other agencies to instruct the offender population in academic, vocational-technical, and faith-based programming. All teachers are certified by the Louisiana Department of Education or its hiring agency. The Department’s academic staff is required to possess or attain Adult Education Certification as outlined by the Louisiana Department of Education Bulletin 156.

Inmate Tutors

Certified education personnel supervise literacy courses, but inmates with a tested ability to serve as tutors are allowed to assist lower-level inmate-students with literacy coursework. However, all lessons are pre-approved by the education faculty. The department requires inmates to have obtained a high school diploma or GED, a sufficient score on the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE), and earned an outstanding disciplinary record prior to serving as an inmate tutor.

Other Tutors

Volunteers from community organizations are periodically allowed to assist with the instruction of inmate programs. These volunteers are considered to be experts in the field for which they contribute. Each volunteer is pre-screened for security access and is required to participate in the institution’s pre-employment orientation.

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