10/21/2019- Inmates at the Marinette County Jail are benefiting from a unique position within the jail system aimed at equipping offenders with the types of skills they’ll need for a successful reintegration into society post-incarceration. Joe Moser is the County’s Inmate Education and Programs Sergeant and told the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee Friday Marinette County is one of few in our region to have a corrections officer specifically designated to develop and run programs like adult education where inmates can prepare and test for their GED. That sort of focused attention has assisted more than 200 inmates in earning their GED over the past several years and Moser says that’s helping keep more of them from ending up back in jail.
“We did a study last year and…the way you do your study can have a variety of different factors included- we took just local people that completed it within a 25-mile radius of our jail. The usual recidivism rate is about 60 to 70% and we figured that by completing a GED it cut that in half to about 33, 35% for our area.”
Jail Administrator Bob Majewski says that reduced recidivism rate not only offers societal benefits, but financial ones, as well, by keeping inmate counts down to help stave off the need to expand the local jail.
“It was kind of a hodgepodge start and it grew from there because, in corrections or jail, programs are not the first thought of what we do. But, it was important so we don’t have to try to build another pod to house the people, so it was good that the county recognized that this is the direction that we all want to go.”
The local inmate education program has been so effective, in fact, that Sgt. Moser was invited to speak at the annual Wisconsin Correctional Education Association’s Training Conference this spring to share Marinette County’s strategies to help improve GED test taking and attainment with other county jail personnel across the state.