A Partnership In Education Gives Catoosa County Inmates A New Chance

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Three area programs are partnering to give inmates at the Catoosa County Detention Center an opportunity to excel at education.

Catoosa  Citizens for Literacy, Georgia Northwestern Technical College and the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Department are bringing together a desire to change the lives of Catoosa inmates.

A collaboration will offer programs to prepare inmates for their G.E.D. (General  Educational Development).

“The G.E.D. program is going to offer all types of possibilities as the inmates are re-entering society and going into the workforce,” said Sheriff Gary Sisk. “All the programs we have started in the last year and moving forward this year are focusing on giving them more possibilities to be a more productive member of society.”

About 25-30 percent of their inmates or about 50 do not have a high school diploma, according to Sisk.

He said that Georgia Northwestern is funding an instructor with a grant.

Sherry Riley, Georgia Northwestern Technical College director of instruction, said she is pleased the sheriff recognized a need that could be served through this program.

“I think it is such an opportunity not only for the inmates but for the community as a whole,” she said. “It is a collaborative effort and it all came together at the right time.”

Sheriff Sisk hopes it will open a connection to Georgia Northwestern for inmates.

“The inmates have time on their hands,” he said. “This is another way to better occupy their time. There is the possibility it spurs something in the inmate that may further their education.

Connie Smith, Georgia Northwestern Technical College vice president of adult education, said that having this program is a long-term goal now underway.

“This is something the CCL (Catoosa Citizens for Literacy) has wanted for a long time,” she said.

Shirley Smith, Catoosa Citizens for Literacy executive director, is excited that the organization is working in a new area to eliminate barriers to education.

“CCL donated 10 laptop Dell computers to serve the program,” she said. “This is one more effort to help break the cycle that often keeps families from success due to a lack of the needed skills to excel in life and in the workforce.”

She said that CCL will also pay the $160 testing fee for each inmate when he or she takes the test, just like it does for every Catoosa County resident.

“Thanks to our many donors and partners in Catoosa County, we continue to strive to create opportunities to help residents to eliminate the barriers to success.”

Even if inmates do not complete their studies, Sheriff Sisk sees the program as the first steps to a better life.

“Our detention center is suppose to be a short term holding facility,” he said. “If they don’t finish while they are here, that will be a connection to the Catoosa County Learning Center to continue their efforts there.”

He said that the Sheriff’s Department is working to structure the program to allow certified testers to administer the tests right in the Detention Center. 

For more information about getting a G.E.D., call the Catoosa County Learning Center at 706 965-6155 or visit http://www.catoosacitizensforliteracy.org/.

University Hosts Award-Winning Author Janisse Ray

Award-winning author, naturalist, and activist Janisse Ray will give a talk on the UTC campus about heirloom seeds, agrodiversity and the future of food. The event is scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Raccoon Mountain Room of the UTC University Center. This program is presented by the Tennessee Valley chapter of Wild Ones and UTC Department of Biological and Environmental ... (click for more)

Dalton State Program Gives Non Students Chance To Further Their Education

Lynda Shenefield had an idea for a book.  But she needed help. Shenefield had no idea how to get her book published.  Then she saw a news release about an epublishing course offered at Dalton State, and thought that would be the perfect opportunity to learn what she needed to know.  At 63, Ms. Shenefield didn’t want to go through the process of enrolling as a student ... (click for more)

EPB Says It Did Not Overbill The City; Says City Got $685,877 Break

EPB officials said Tuesday that an exhaustive audit of its street light contract with the city showed that it did not overbill the city. Instead, it said it found that the city was underbilled $685,877. EPB said it only goes back one year on errors so the amount owed by the city would be $178,314. Officials said that would be discussed with the city. Stan Sewell, the city's ... (click for more)

Citizens To Comment Next Tuesday On Sound Control Ordinance That Allows Higher Sound Around Downtown Clubs

Citizens will be allowed to comment next Tuesday on a new Sound Control Ordinance that allows higher sound from nightclubs in a downtown Controlled Sound Boundary. Track 29 behind the Chattanooga Choo Choo, that has drawn the wrath of some nearby Southside residents, is within the boundary, which goes along the river on the north and west, to around Erlanger Hospital on the ... (click for more)

I'm Number One In A Round About Way

Roundabouts have been popping up all over Chattanooga over the past few years and for the most part have been successful.  Unfortunately there are some who just don’t get it as I have found out the hard way.    My latest instance was last week when a young woman on her cell phone almost t-boned me as she flew into the roundabout without yielding.  A near miss ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Oscar Brock’s True Passion

I don’t pay much attention to the Hamilton County School Board. Once the moon and the stars aligned behind Superintendent Rick Smith, you hear very little, if anything, from the nine-member council that oversees an annual budget of almost $400 million and employs 4,480 people. So chew this for a minute: approximately 2,000 of those people are not teachers. Yes, there are 78 principals ... (click for more)