Imperial, California - The Imperial County Sheriff’s Office joined with the Imperial Valley College and the Imperial County Probation Department to offer California’s first Inside-Out College Program this fall at the Imperial County Day Reporting Center.
Fourteen “Inside” students (those incarcerated at the Imperial County Jail) and nine “outside” students (students from Imperial Valley College), met weekly at the Day Reporting Center to complete a one-unit college course in the Alcohol and Drug Studies Program, focusing on the development of Life Skills (ADS 178). The instructor, Aruna Patel, stated that the course was a great success, expressing that she was very pleased with the group’s interaction and commitment to making positive life changes. “This was a great experience,” instructor Patel stated. “This is what education is all about - discovering how we can work together for a better future.”
An “inside” student stated that he wants a better future for himself and his children. “I’m grateful for the program. It has changed my outlook about me, life, and others. I can’t wait to get to the next class!”
An “outside” student expressed similar feelings about the class. “Classmates expressed a heightened sense of purpose, a strong study ethic and an expressed desire to do and be something/someone better. This class has proven to me that ‘every person is more than the worst thing they’ve ever done.’ All of us can grow and change for the better.”
The Inside/Out College Program Coordinator, Gaylla A. Finnell, serves as the Distance Education Coordinator at Imperial Valley College. “The class was a great success! When we started talking about developing the program, we weren’t sure if it would work.”
Gaylla, joined by Sgt. Robert Wilson of the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office, attended a week-long training last summer in Michigan provided by the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. “We were determined to get the training necessary to insure we had the best chance possible for success.
We knew we were trying something different, and we wanted to make sure we were establishing a quality program for Imperial County.”
The twenty-three students completing the class will be recognized and honored during a special ceremony at the Day Reporting Center on December 17, 2014.
The Corrections Bureau is so excited to celebrate the completion of the FIRST class of Inside/Out Program. BI/GEO Reentry Services Program graduation & Imperial County Sheriff’s Inside/Out college program transitional celebration will be recognizing the accomplishments of the participants who have accepted change and began to make progress to successfully reintegrate into the community.
In collaboration with the Imperial County Community Corrections Partnership (CCP) committee, the BI/GEO Reentry Services, County Probation Dept, County Sheriff’s Office, and the Imperial Valley College announces the recognition and transitional celebration of their Reentry Services and college advancement program.
Sheriff Loera and Undersheriff Miramontes’ support has allowed us to be the FIRST Sheriff’s Office in the nation to offer this course.
Sheriff Loera stated, “The Imperial County Sheriff's Office is proud to be a part of this innovative and ground breaking program. In the few short weeks that this program has been in existence, I have seen significant change in not only the perception of the inmates themselves, but the perceptions of the outside students. This is the type of program that will benefit the community by helping people re-integrate as productive members of society.”