St. Landry Parish inmates pursue their education

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OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY)- Despite being behind bars, two St. Landry Parish inmates have earned their high school degrees, the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office said.

James Tweedel and John Jason earned their degrees through the sheriff’s office HISET program, the department announced today.

“I am proud to announce the graduation of two more St. Landry inmates through our HISET program,” Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz said.

High School Equivalency Test is an educational program offered to male and female offenders housed at the St. Landry Parish Jail who have not received a high school diploma. The new HISET test which replaced the original GED test last year is more in line with common core standards. Each student is required to participate ten hours a week for at least three months according to their level of education. These hours are mandatory to become eligible in achieving a HISET diploma.

“There are over 30 students who have graduated through the HISET program and currently 25 inmates enrolled in the taking courses,” said Lillian Rideaux, the HISET instructor of the sheriff’s office said.

Beginning July 2018, the Department of Public Safety and Corrections announced the HISET program has been upgraded to a higher level educational testing.

All inmate students who have completed the HISET program or have received a GED or high school diploma and are currently incarcerated can fill out a pre-screening form to qualify to enroll in the CTE programs which are: welding, heavy equipment operating, carpentry, and office systems.

The student inmates become trained, certified, and placed in on-site jobs in their field of training. Currently they are trying to fill the welding class first.

“Earning a High School diploma improves an inmate’s chances of not returning to prison and becoming a productive member in society,” said Guidroz.

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