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April 25, 2003

CONTACT: Rick Lombardi
(617) 989-6672


The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department held its first-ever college fair last month to provide educational options to offenders once they leave the House of Correction.

"For most of our young offenders, college was never an option. Fairs such as these can provide hope and opportunity for anyone willing to work hard and continue their education," said Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral.

The college fair was organized by Marcie Hubert, the Department’s Title I Education Counselor. Six schools participated and provided information to 158 men and women inmates.

School representatives set up booths in the Contact Visiting area of the House of Correction and provided information to inmates with a high school diploma or equivalent, or were working towards a General Educational Development diploma. Colleges that attended were the Gibbs College of Boston, Roxbury Community College, Bunker Hill Community College, Massachusetts Bay Community College, Quincy College and the Adult Basic Education (ABE) College Transition Program.

"Many inmates have a preconceived notion of a college education. They believe that a criminal record precludes them from getting an education. This fair lets them know that an education is still possible. It’s a better option than a life of crime," said Hubert.

Hubert said graphic design programs, hairstyling and the ABE’s College Transition Program were among the most popular. She said most young offenders are unaware of the types of programs colleges offer or how to apply to college or to get financial aid. "They don’t know these resources exist, so we bring the resources to them and show them how to get into school, or take classes that will help them lead a more responsible life," she said.

Jennifer Spohn, ABE’s Director of the College Transition Program, praised the college fair as a way to help a young man or women get back on track and get an education. "One inmate we met has already been released from the House and has registered with us for the summer program," she said.

The Sheriff’s Department offers inmates educational programs and vocational classes such as computer literacy, creative writing, current events, parenting, psychology, Black studies and food sanitation.

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