Oneida County Helps Inmates Get a GEDSubmitted: 01/22/2018
Story By Fitzgerald, Maggie

Oneida County Helps Inmates Get a GED
RHINELANDER - The Oneida County Sheriff says that being in jail is a constant battle with boredom. Inmates can watch TV, play cards, and message their families but that's about it. Now, thanks to a new program, inmates can work towards getting a high school education.

The Oneida County jail recently paired up with Nicolet Technical College to create a GED certification program for some of its inmates. The program is designed to set inmates up for success once they are released from jail.

A teacher from Nicolet College comes to the jail four times a week for about an hour to teach nine state inmates. Although the program is open to county and state inmates, there are only state inmates involved at this time.

The inmates are chosen based on who Sheriff Grady Hartman thinks will be the most successful.

"It's important to give them something to do while they're here besides just watching TV and playing cards. We're fighting that boredom aspect with them and we want them to have some positive outlets for their time," said Hartman.

The goal is to prepare inmates for better employment opportunities after they are released.

"Those that are taking advantage of it, it could mean success when they're released. They could get a job, they could start caring for their families," said Hartman.

Hartman said the program has been successful because one participant got their GED and high school diploma within eight weeks.

"The inmates that I have seen have really appreciated that someone has taken a chance on them and attempting to help them instead of just storing them," said Hartman.

Hartman says the curriculum is challenging, especially for inmates who haven't seen the material in 20 to 25 years. However, he has been pleasantly surprised by the inmate's gratitude for the program.

Sheriff Hartman said that although the program is costly, he feels it is a worthwhile investment.

Hartman hopes to see more county inmates involved because they will be rejoining the Rhinelander community after they are released. 

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