Department of Labor and Regulation

Title - News

For Immediate Release: August 6, 2013
CONTACT: Michael Winder, Communications & Information Manager,
                   South Dakota Department of Corrections

Additional Inmates Complete GED, Vocational Training Programs

PIERRE, S.D. -- More state prison inmates completed their General Educational Development (GED®) program and other course work while incarcerated during state fiscal year 2013.

Between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013, a total of 229 state prison inmates earned their GED credential. The number of completions in the previous state fiscal year was 167.

Inmates entering the state prison system who lack a high school diploma are required to work toward earning their GED credential while incarcerated. The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation provides funding for inmates to receive Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) classes leading to the GED credential.

"Not having a high school education or GED is a stumbling block for post-high school education and employment and a barrier to successful reentry for offenders," said Secretary of Corrections Denny Kaemingk. "The Department of Corrections (DOC) is committed to maximizing opportunities for their rehabilitation."

The DOC is preparing for upcoming national changes to the GED system, including transitioning from paper and pencil to computer based testing beginning in January 2014. The current five sections of the GED exam will be reduced to four sections measuring knowledge and skills in reasoning through language arts, mathematical reasoning, science and social studies next year. The changes are designed to align the GED exam with the Common Core standards adopted by most states, including South Dakota, to increase college and career readiness.

During state fiscal year 2013, another 212 inmates graduated from vocational training programs while in prison, earning certificates of completion in areas such as automotive body repair, automotive mechanics, welding, landscape design, construction technology and computer applications. There were 150 vocational completions the previous fiscal year.

More DOC inmates completed other course offerings during state fiscal year 2013 than in the previous year:

Course Completed FY 2012 FY 2013
Common Sense Parenting 121 141
Credit When Credit Is Due 534 579
Job Search Assistance Program 483 518
Thinking for Change 335 490

A description of the courses offered to inmates is included below:

AEL / GED
General Educational Development (GED) tests are a group of subject exams which, when passed, certify that the taker has high school equivalent-level academic skills.

Common Sense Parenting
Common Sense Parenting was designed by Boys Town as a practical, skill-based parenting program that applies logical strategies and easy-to-learn techniques in addressing issues of communication, discipline, decision making, relationships, self-control and school success.

Credit When Credit is Due
The course is designed to help individuals gain a better knowledge of money issues and responsibilities revolving around the world of credit.

Job Search Assistance Program
The Transition Assistance Program assists inmates in their transition from correctional life to civilian life. This three day workshop includes information on employment services and programs, resumes, interviews and applications, and veteran benefits information. The Department of Labor & Regulation provides the JSAP course.

Thinking for Change & Thinking for Change Aftercare
Thinking for Change (T4C) is an integrated, cognitive behavioral change program for offenders including cognitive restructuring, social skills development, and development of problem solving skills. The aftercare course continues to develop the skills learned in the T4C classroom. Emphasis is on dealing with daily issues and managing thinking errors.

Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT)
MRT is a cognitive-behavioral program that combines education, group and individual counseling, and structured exercises designed to foster moral development in treatment-resistant clients.

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Marcia Hultman, Secretary
700 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501-2291
Tel. 605.773.3101
Fax. 605.773.6184