Inmates at Dayton Correctional Institution trade their jumpsuits for caps and gowns

Inmates at Dayton Correctional Institute trade their jumpsuits for caps and gowns (WKEF/WRGT)

DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - A unique partnership between the Dayton Correctional Institution and Sinclair Community College gave women a fresh start and helps them strive for success after incarceration.

115 women at Dayton Correctional institution moved their tassels to the other sides of their caps and traded handcuffs for certificates. Many of these women never thought they would have the opportunity to further their education, but that all changed.

“We just know education is critical in the rehabilitation process,” said DCI Warden Wanza Jackson Mitchell. “What it does is provide them opportunities to think differently and as well as plan differently for when they return back into the community."

The Prison Education Program at DCI is funded by the state and provided through Sinclair Community College. This offers inmates the opportunity to complete courses in things like business, restaurant management and more. They can then apply the credits toward a college degree once released from prison.

“They came in and didn’t have hope and didn’t have direction,” said Advance Job Training Director Cheryl Taylor. “They didn’t think they could accomplish things in life and they found out at they are smart and that they have ability.”

“I just wanted to do something to better myself and better my future,” added inmate Brittany Isaac.

Isaac has been incarcerated since January 2016 for drug trafficking. Since completing the course, she now has a sense of direction in her life. Her expected release date is March 2019, and she plans of finishing her degree at the University of Cincinnati.

“My main focus when I get out is to continue my education," said Isaac. “Get all of that squared away so I don’t just get a job, I can start a career.”

“They are here for a reason, they have committed a crime and are doing their time, and are doing it in a productive way,” added Mitchell

This year has produced a record number of graduates for DCI since summer 2017. They've awarded 304 certificates.

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