Jail & Probation Education Program
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Sutter County Superintendent of Schools contracts with Sutter County Probation and Sutter County Jail to offer educational services to interested adult participants. There are 3 educational pathways offered: High School Diploma (HSD), High School Equivalency Certificate (HiSET), and Adult Basic Skills (ABS). Anyone may participate in these programs; however, participants are placed into appropriate pathways based upon their individual needs. In the Jail, inmates may enroll in any of the three pathways, while at Probation, clients typically enroll in either HSD or HiSET programs.
Currently, both the Jail and Probation students typically complete paper/pencil school work, however, Probation students also have the option to work online through Edgenuity (HSD) or Aztec (HiSET Prep). Sutter County Adult Education is in the process of making online learning available to the Jail students via digital tablets in their cell rooms.
Another project we are working on is getting students who are eligible to work in the jail kitchen to earn a Food Handler's Certification. Currently, this curriculum is only offered online. However, the inmates have extremely limited internet access, and since the initial onset of Covid, the jail has not allowed face-to-face contact, all of which makes delivering this content a challenge.
Both Jail and Probation students are able to earn Milestones, a certificate program to incentive's learning achievement. At the Jail, earned Milestones can be used to reduce an inmate’s sentence, depending upon each individual’s circumstances. Probation Milestones can be presented to participants in front of a judge during court proceedings.
These two educational programs are taught by the same teacher, in which inmate students have a smoother transition becoming probation students; the school work is the same, and students pick up their studies right where they leave off upon their release from jail.
Graduations are rare for Jail students, mostly because their incarceration duration are typically between 1 to 6 months. Likewise for Probation students, but for a different reason: education becomes less of a priority for many of the probationers, who are participating in rehab programs, working, taking care of family, homelessness, lack of technology, lack of transportation, and lack of motivation; there are also other illegal distractions that affect this population. The classroom is a part of a correctional facility first, while education comes in second.