The Jail Education Program at a Glance
The Jail Education Program began in 1973. El Centro College partnered with the Dallas County Sherriff’s Department to create an innovative program designed to help reduce recidivism rates among Dallas County Inmates. The program now serves as a platform to help promote higher education for inmates, which allows them an opportunity to become productive members of society upon release. The program has had many success stories over the years of its operation. Many students, after being released, have continued their pursuit of higher education and have exhibited outstanding leadership in their school and community. A former Jail Education student was head of El Centro’s honor society, implemented and completed the first Home Technology Integration degree from the college, and has presented to the National Science Foundation.
The Jail Program works diligently to provide its students with quality education that will make them a competitive asset to the workforce. The instructors within the program strive to keep education materials cutting edge, and consistently modify course materials to ensure they apply to modern needs in the business, corporate, and digital technological fields.
Originally the program had 26 students and one classroom, and included a staff of 2. Within the past 15 years the program has expanded to include over 350 students, fourteen classrooms, six computer labs, 1 welding simulation lab, four art rooms, and a staff of over 50 individuals. The programs great success is attributed to the hard work and leadership of the Jail Program Administrator Jane VanDeventer, the excellent teamwork distributed by her support staff, and her long-standing close, positive working relationship with the Dallas County Sherriff’s Department Inmate Programs Division.