COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – Seven South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) inmates received full software development certification on Friday.
The training was provided by Persevere Now, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization designed to move inmates from prison to prosperity.
The training began in January 2020 and was originally planned to be a 12 month program. But after three prison closures due to COVID-19, the course was extended to 14 non-consecutive months.
“Even during quarantine, [Persevere Now] brought us books so that we could study. It was very difficult, but it taught us to be humble,” said a graduate.
This detainee was incarcerated in 2005 and should be released in December. She would have started an apprenticeship in January 2023.
“Before this program, I was very passive. But it taught me the difference between aggressive and assertive. Now I choose to assert myself. A leader, not a follower,” the graduate continued.
While the program started with 100 inmates, more than 90% either dropped out or were released from prison before it was completed.
Six inmates received their certificates of completion from Preserve Now during an opening ceremony at the Camille Griffin Graham Correctional Facility. Four former inmates celebrated from a distance.
“They start their career here in prison. Which is amazing considering they ended up here for breaking the law. It’s hopeful for me, hopeful for the department, and hopeful for the state,” SCDC Director Bryan Stirling said after the ceremony.
According to the SCDC, South Carolina has a recidivism rate of 19.2% which is the lowest in the country.
All but one of the incarcerated graduates will be released from prison and will work as computer programmers within the next eight months.
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