HOLLDAYSBURG — The option to prepare for the Pennsylvania high school equivalency test has returned to the Blair County jail.
“We’ve been officially up and running again for a week,” Warden Abbie Tate told the Department of Corrections at their monthly meeting, where she spoke of the instant popularity of the so-called General Education Development (GED) program.
Based on the November report submitted to the board, the prison’s GED program has 16 male and nine female inmates.
Tate told the board that 20 inmates were enrolled within the hour of providing a GED program.
It has been several years since the county jail offered a GED course for inmates with follow-up exams. The prison’s program was discontinued in January 2014 after the exam switched from a paper exam to a computer-based exam that could only be taken at a designated exam location.
Goodwill of the Southern Alleghenies is working with Blair County Prison to support the GED program, Assistant Principal Shaun Edmundson said.
The regional nonprofit, he added, provides a teacher who comes to the prison two days a week, with time in the morning for the male inmates and in the afternoon for the female inmates.
HiSet is the online computer testing website that inmates use for GED certification testing.
“Our goal is to have a case manager who is trained to manage the online tests.” said Edmundson. “We also plan to soon have an assistant warden trained to test HiSet inmates.”
Inmates who pass the math, writing, science and social studies tests receive a Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma issued by the State Department of Education.
The effort to restore the GED program is part of prison administrations’ ongoing effort this year to restore programs that were shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The November report to the Prison Authority shows a parenting skills improvement program is growing with 27 male and 16 female inmates.
Participants in the drug and alcohol early release program, based on the November report, had 45 female and 13 male inmates.
The report also notes that 18 inmates were enrolled in a class offered by Reformers Unanimous, five men enrolled in the reentry program offered by Goodwill of the Southern Alleghenies, and six inmates attended a Salvation Army presentation.
District leaders have also sought, with court approval, to reintroduce an inmate layoff program.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens can be reached at 814-946-7456.