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Pilot Program in Durham County Jail Shows Promise

DURHAM — A trial program for educating inmates at the Durham County Jail still has some time to go, but signs are encouraging, according to Brian Jones, operations and development director for the Durham County Sheriff’s Office.

“We’ve seen a lot of improvement already in reading ability,” Jones said. “I’ve been encouraged by the results we’ve had so far.”

The six-month program, which started in September, offers test preparation for the General Education Diploma and job-readiness training for inmates 16 to 24 years old who lack high-school educations.

“We are very deeply concerned about these people,” said Reginald Hodges, a board member of the Durham Literacy Center who coordinates the job-readiness part of the jail program.

“They represent a major element in Durham’s population and if these people are not contributing positively to Durham, Durham is going to have difficulty.”

The project’s overall purpose is to keep current inmates from coming back to jail.

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