Fla. DOC celebrates 100th graduate of online high school program
Graduate says online high school diploma program is helping inmates like him turn their lives around--and stay out of prison. By Smart Horizons Career Online Education
PENSACOLA, Fla. — A recent scene at Madison Correctional Institution was not what you would expect of a state penitentiary. Eighteen men lined up to walk across a stage and shake hands with the prison's warden as well as a superintendent of a school district. These men were 18 of the Florida Department of Corrections 22 most recent success stories—inmates who had completed their high school education from an Internet-based program offered via high-security computer workstations inside of the prison.
The program, now live at seven correctional institutions across the state, is the first of its kind. It enables inmates to complete a high school diploma plus credentialed career certificate online. Delivering the program online drastically reduces costs for the prison by eliminating the need for seat time, classroom space, and additional staffing. While security concerns have left the correctional community reluctant to adapt Internet-based programs in spite of the cost savings, Smart Horizons Career Online Education—the district that delivers the program—developed the technology to eliminate that risk.
"The program is innovative because it incorporates technology into the correctional environment and the classroom in a safe and controlled manner," said Darlene Lumpkin, Assistant Warden at Lowell Correctional Institution, where the 100th graduate completed the program.