Offenders earn degree - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Offenders earn degree

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CONNELL, Wash.—Five offenders at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center recently graduated with an Associates of Arts degree.  It's all part of a new program that started about a year ago.

The completely grant-funded Associates of Arts Transfer Degree Program is the same curriculum at Walla Walla Community College.   Offenders do need to take a test to get into the program.  Currently, 170 students are enrolled.

Studies show education reduces an offender's chance of getting rearrested by 50%.  Plus, once they are released they have options for their future.  The only graduate who has been released is now taking college courses at Central Washington University.

Instructors describe the program as a steppingstone.  Many of the offenders say their earned degree will aid them in a career or going to a four-year college.  

 This coming June 15 more offenders are expected to graduate with an Associates of Arts degree.