Inmates celebrate completion of high school and higher education

By  | 

ANAMOSA, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) – Wednesday afternoon was a day more than a dozen offenders at Anamosa State Penitentiary will never forget.

Those men were able to walk across the state to complete their high school education or apprenticeship. Jalen Gary said getting his G.E.D is something he never thought he could do.

“I never thought I’d make it to this point. It’s the biggest accomplishment of my life,” Gary said.

The prison teams up with Kirkwood Community College and helps inmates reach their education goals. Teachers hold class onsite.

“It’s the best thing they could do for someone in my situation. They’re giving me the opportunity to accomplish something in life,” Gary said.

Wayne Palmer finished an apprenticeship, as he works toward another.

“I think it’s going to open up doors, and it gives me more options, something I can couple with my CDL license,” Palmer said. “I think it’s a beautiful thing. It’s important because you put yourself in a better opportunity to succeed when you go out in the world. You have something to show, whether it’s on paper, or just actual skills that you learned.”

These programs require countless hours of study, major tests, and thousands of hours hands on training.

“Our goal is that the individuals that come in our system, it’s a one-time visit,” High School Completion Director Marcel Kielkucki said. “By providing them education opportunities, helping them become more employable, that assists them so they can find a job, and not turn back to something they would do criminally to come back in the system.”