Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul, left, and Albany Technical College Adult Education Instructor James Parker, far right, flank LaMontae Brown, Otis Meyers, Courtney Green and Brian Harris during a GED ceremony Friday at the Dougherty County jail. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)
ALBANY — Friday afternoon at the Dougherty County Jail, four inmates received their General Equivalency Diplomas joining 15 others who have earned their GEDs at the facility over the past two years.
The program is a joint venture between the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office and Albany Technical College and is aimed at removing a barrier to post-secondary education and employment opportunities and reducing recidivism.
LaMontae Brown, Courtney Green, Brian Harris and Otis Myers all picked up diplomas.
“This is one of those days where the sun has come up and shined on these young men,” Dougherty Sheriff Kevin Sproul said. “One of the hurdles is education and they have just cleared one hurdle. If we can keep just one person from coming back to this facility, then we have reduced the recidivism rate.
ATC Adult Education Instructor James Parker said he was also proud of the young men.
They really worked hard and the push was on and they were up to the challenge,” Parker said. “They succeeded and this will open doors for them to post-secondary education and employment possibilities. True, they will carry a little baggage with them, but these GEDs will be a tool for them to help overcome the past.
Dougherty County Jail Director Col. John Ostrander congratulated the young men.
“I can’t tell you how important this program is to this jail facility and to you,” Ostrander said to the newly minted graduates. “This program is just step one. You guys did it and no one will ever be able to take that from you.”
Sproul stressed that no county funds were used to pay for the testing and training, instead all funding came from contributions from private sources in the county.
“There are people in this community who care what happens to you,” the sheriff said.