|The Montgomery County Correctional Facility has provided an adult education program to inmates since 1978. Initially, the focus of the program was General Education Diploma instruction. Over the past 30 years, the program has evolved to meet the needs of the changing demographic of the offender population. Specifically, we have seen a decrease in the academic skill level of program participants and a corresponding increase in the number of people who have not graduated from high school. Consequently, we have increased the number of remedial education programs we offer. In addition, we have seen increases in the number of youthful offenders and inmates who do not speak English as their first language. In response, we have increased the number of programs for youthful offenders and added additional ESOL classes.
During FY2008, approximately 3500 inmates participated in educational and self-improvement classes at the Model Learning Center. On average, 54 people per month participated in GED classes, 48 in ESOL classes, 28 in Life Skills, 75 in programs specifically tailored to meet the needs of youthful offenders, and 100 in a variety of self-improvement classes.
The Model Learning Center is an integral part of the department-wide services provided to a disadvantaged population. In the past year, the department has taken the initiative and increased the quality of services provided to inmates as part of the reentry process. The Model Learning Center is currently restructuring its curriculum to support the services offered to inmates through the Workforce and One Stop programs.
The most significant recent changes to correctional educational programming are the accreditation of the program and the addition of special education services for students with special needs. For the first time, we are providing services federally mandated under IDEA and ADA. In addition, we successfully completed the process and were awarded accreditation of our program by the Correctional Education Association. The Montgomery County Correctional Facility is the first county facility in Maryland to have an accredited education program.