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For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 26, 2017

In recognition of National Reentry Week, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited the Montgomery County Correctional Facility (MCCF) in Boyds, Maryland, to learn about the facility's education programs and to also learn more about the nexus of education and workforce development as it relates to Reentry. While At the MCCF, Secretary DeVos met the County's Department of Correction and Rehabilitation Director Robert Green and his staff along with Montgomery College President Dr. DeRionne Pollard, and other representatives from Montgomery College; Montgomery County Public Schools; and WorkSource Montgomery, Inc.

Secretary DeVos took the time to engage with inmates taking classes and other opportunities to better prepare themselves for a return to society and reduce the chance of recidivism.

"My visit to Montgomery County Correctional Facility was encouraging and inspiring, said Secretary DeVos. "MCCF offers integrated, onsite education and career development services through its American Job Center. This center provides full-time GED, vocational and special education programs, and assists incarcerated individuals with skills assessments, job searches and further education planning before their release."

For incarcerated youth and adults whose goal is to turn their lives around, access to education has proven to be transformative. When men and women return to society better prepared for meaningful employment, the benefits extend beyond their own lives. They have the potential to rejoin society as positive, engaged, contributing members of their communities and workplaces.

"Education is a powerful weapon against recidivism," said Dr. Pollard. "I was very pleased that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited the correctional facility where we were able to show her how Montgomery College, in partnership with MCCF,is working to improve opportunity for inmate-learners.Ensuring that people have skills to join the job market upon their release is an important part of our commitment to the program."

The MCCF was selected by the Secretary's Director of Correctional Education due to the facility and it programs delivering high-quality reentry education and training to their population.

"It was truly an honor to host the Secretary of Education," said Deputy Warden of Inmate Services Gale Starkey. "Our hope is that Secretary DeVos was enlightened by our successful correctional programming and services. It was a great opportunity to showcase the work that we do every day. We are especially proud of the 17 inmate learners who received their High School Diplomas/GED in 2016."

During National Reentry Week, and throughout the year, correctional facilities and their jurisdictions throughout the nation recognize and support education's power to help those leaving the justice system rebuild their character, reform their lives and realize their true potential.

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Release ID: 17-439
Media Contact: Public Information Office 240-777-6507