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Anamosa State Penitentiary hosts graduation ceremony for inmates

An inmate at Anamosa State Penitentiary participates in the jail's graduation ceremony on April 24, 2019 (Lucy Rohden/KCRG)
An inmate at Anamosa State Penitentiary participates in the jail's graduation ceremony on April 24, 2019 (Lucy Rohden/KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: Apr. 24, 2019 at 9:05 PM CDT
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Most graduation ceremonies happen in an auditorium, a gym, or even on a high school football field -- but not in a prison visiting room. Today, at the Anamosa State Penitentiary, was an exception.

26 inmates at the penitentiary were recognized for earning their high school diploma, passing high school equivalency tests, completing an apprenticeship program, or earning a bachelors degree while serving time at the facility.

"It was the most nervous I've been in my entire life," Lamont Coleman, one of the inmates recognized today, said.

These 26 inmates in the jail were given another chance at academic success, and those degrees or certificates they have earned will make for a smoother transition to life after their sentences.

"These men, many of them just made one mistake, that was a big mistake that got them here," Patti Bammert, instructor, said. "They deserve a second chance, they deserve a third chance."

That extra chance is a way for the jail to rehabilitate, rather than just punish.

"I never thought I'd earn my HiSET, or go back to school and get my GED, and this just proves that anything is possible," Coleman said.

Programs are taught in partnership with Kirkwood Community College, the Anamosa State Penitentiary Apprenticeship Program, and Simpson College.

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