Scott County Jail Inmates Achieve

Inmates at Scott County Jail took classes during the previous months and passed written and skill test to earn high school equivalency or welding skills certificate.

There was a celebration last Wednesday afternoon at Scott County Jail when 14 inmates were awarded educational achievement certificates.
The inmates were non-violent offenders having been incarcerated for drug charges, theft, and misdemeanors.
According to Sheriff Jerry Goodin the inmates took part in high school equivalency classes. “And we are celebrating six who have now gotten the equivalent of a high school diploma,” said Goodin, “and ten who now have 3-D and 4-D welding certificates and are ready for employment when they are released in a few weeks.”
Two inmates, Harley Combs and Jordan Harrell achieved both a high school equivalency diploma and graduated with welding certificates through the jail program.
Harrell was selected to speak for those matriculating.
“I’m 25 years old and I made some very bad decisions which landed me here in jail,” Harrell told the crowd in attendance. “I got into drugs, I OD’d, and was incarcerated for my action.”
“Sheriff Good and Jail Commander (Ray) Dawson and the instructors at River Valley Resources and Ivy Tech have helped give us hope. We have a diploma. We have a skill that will help us get jobs and stay on the right track,” Harrell said.
The inmate, who is now married said his wife has two children. “Those three people are depending on me. I have a responsibility to provide for them. This education, these certificates are providing me opportunity to provide for them.”
In closing his presentation, Harrell spoke first to Scott County residents. “If you see people in your neighborhood who are struggling, don’t turn your back on them. Lend them a hand.”
And turning to his fellow inmates, Harrell said “Education is important. If you have a chance to better yourself, jump on it.”
Ron Novak, a welding instructor at IVY Tech for 19 years before reading off the names of certificate achievers said, “This group of men were the best welding class I have taught, by far.”
Sheriff Goodin said the educational program at the jail—a coalition of IVY Tech, River Valley Resources and the sheriff’s department— was funded through a grant. “It didn’t cost the taxpayers of Scott County a dime,” he said.
“And Scott County is the only county jail in the state of Indiana to offer this kind of program for inmates,” he said.
“Today, I feel like a proud, happy parent,” Goodin told the graduates. “But I don’t want to see you back in here.”
To a person, they all nodded in agreement.
Not all of the inmates who earned diplomas and welding certificates were on hand for the graduation ceremony.
“Some had job interviews today and we wish them well in their interviews and landing a job with their new skills,” said Goodin.
High school equivalency graduates included Kaitlin Grider, Harley Combs, Jordan Harrell, Timmy Harrison, Vincent Mayo, and Jacob Rentauskas.
Earning welding certificates were: Harley Combs, Travis Couch, Dakota Fortner, Matthew Griffith, Jordan Harrell, Brandon Haven, Bradley Helton, Neil Parsons, Brandon Stidham and John Watts.
Goodin said he plans to continue such educational opportunities for inmates at Scott County Jail in the future.