State prison inmates learn skills through new program

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The Mississippi Department of Corrections launched a new program for correctional facilities across the state.The Vocational Village Program allows inmates to practice occupations with hands-on instruction.Some of the vocations taught at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility include auto repair, computer coding, fiber optics and culinary arts.Antoine Hopson is an inmate awaiting his parole date coming up on August 14.”We cook. We are learning how to cook, and there’s things I didn’t know as far as measurements and proportions, and it’s really getting me prepared for going on the outside,” Hopson said.George King is a Department of Corrections program director.”I was formerly incarcerated, and so for me, while I was in prison, these programs became real. It’s become a passion for me, because I know this will make me successful and take care of my family,” King said.Each class goes on for months at a time, and they are all taught by prisoners themselves who have a background in the curriculum.The Deputy Commissioner of Workforce Development, Bradley Lum, said the goal is to change mindsets in both practical and physiological ways.”What we don’t want to do is to train somebody to be a really skilled criminal when they get out. We want to make sure that we’re training somebody in a skill, and that is a bedrock of opportunity, but we’re also changing the way they think,” Lum said.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections launched a new program for correctional facilities across the state.

The Vocational Village Program allows inmates to practice occupations with hands-on instruction.

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Some of the vocations taught at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility include auto repair, computer coding, fiber optics and culinary arts.

Antoine Hopson is an inmate awaiting his parole date coming up on August 14.

“We cook. We are learning how to cook, and there’s things I didn’t know as far as measurements and proportions, and it’s really getting me prepared for going on the outside,” Hopson said.

George King is a Department of Corrections program director.

“I was formerly incarcerated, and so for me, while I was in prison, these programs became real. It’s become a passion for me, because I know this will make me successful and take care of my family,” King said.

Each class goes on for months at a time, and they are all taught by prisoners themselves who have a background in the curriculum.

The Deputy Commissioner of Workforce Development, Bradley Lum, said the goal is to change mindsets in both practical and physiological ways.

“What we don’t want to do is to train somebody to be a really skilled criminal when they get out. We want to make sure that we’re training somebody in a skill, and that is a bedrock of opportunity, but we’re also changing the way they think,” Lum said.

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