The educational assessment takes place at MCI Concord and MCI Framingham and as needed if an inmate misses the initial processing. Every newly sentenced individual that is classified at MCI Concord and MCI Framingham must take the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) and a self-scoring Occupational Interest Survey. The TABE test provides a grade level in math, reading and language. If this testing indicates that additional special education or oral testing is needed, it will also be administered. Speakers of other languages are given the Basic English Speakers Test (BEST). Education Counselors at each institution will receive this information when an inmate is transferred there and they will discuss educational alternatives and will place the inmate in appropriate classes or on waiting lists.
The Division of Inmate Training and Education receives three grants from the Massachusetts Department of Education and a Reintegration Grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
A. Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Act Grant Program
The Carl D. Perkins grant is a federal grant that is administered through the Department of Correction. The state correctional agency administers 1% of the total funding received by the Commonwealth for the improvement of correctional vocational education programs. The Division dispenses monies and administers programs to the Department of Correction and the county houses of correction. Every effort is made to develop and fund proposals that provide non-traditional vocational and technical training programs. Emphasis is placed upon the acquisition of salable skills along with an appreciation of the work ethic. Instructors provide training in professions that would be a stepping stone to further education and entry-level employment. Reintegration efforts coordinated with other state and federal agencies provide job placement and transitional services to those persons completing their sentences and are ready for release. The Perkins Grant Program is operational at all county houses of correction and at the following state institutions, Bay State Correctional Center and South Middlesex Correctional Center offer Horticulture and Pondville Correctional Center offers Pre-Vocational Skills and Small Engine Repair.
B. Title I Grant Program
The Title I program uses federal grant funds to provide supplemental instructional services to inmates who are twenty-one years of age or less. This instruction is primarily in reading, mathematics, and language arts and targets the most academically needy students in that population. The program offers self-paced, individualized instruction in small group settings to these younger inmates in an attempt to renew their interest in the possibilities and opportunities of education.
In addition to the state correctional program the Division of Inmate Training and Education manages this program for five county houses of correction. The Title I grant program is operated at the following institutions with contract teaching staff, MCI Framingham, Old Colony Correctional Center and Souza Baranowski Correctional Center
C. Adult Basic Education Grant Program
The Education Division's Adult Basic Education (ABE) grant program provides a comprehensive education program to approximately 200 incarcerated adults each year. The ABE program is funded through a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Education utilizing Federal Adult Education monies. The ABE grant program focuses its instruction on basic transferable skills. The program offers literacy development, pre G.E.D., and G.E.D. preparation. The goals of the ABE grant program are to increase its students'; functional literacy level, provide its students with the capability to make a smooth reentry into their community upon their release and thereby reduce the Commonwealth's recidivism rate. The ABE grant program employs 4 full-time teachers. These teachers are employed at MCI Shirley Medium and MCI Framingham.
III. Educational Programs
The aforementioned grant programs (Perkins, Title 1, and Adult Basic Education) as well as abbreviations and acronyms may be used to refer to certain educational programs. Therefore, in order to clarify those programs and explain course content in a standardized manner; definitions are listed below. Programming is categorized into either academic or vocational.
Adult Basic Education
Adult Basic Education (ABE) (Literacy Development) is a program servicing those who are learning to read and write, or who are functioning at or below the fifth grade level.
Boston University Program
This program is designed to meet the needs of the students who have accumulated a minimum of twelve transferable college credits. Students eligible to enter this program have an opportunity to achieve a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Studies from BU's Metropolitan College. This program is donated in full by Boston University and operates at Bay State Correctional Center, MCI Norfolk, MCI Framingham and South Middlesex Correctional Center.
English as a Second Language (ESL)
English as a Second Language is a language development program geared to the adult with limited English proficiency. The main emphasis of this program is to provide limited or non-English speakers with the fundamentals of speaking, reading and writing English, so they may be mainstreamed into existing academic classes. The three-level program is taught exclusively in English and is available to those students whose native language is something other than English.
The G.E.D. programs are specifically geared toward preparing a student to successfully take his or her High School Equivalency Exam. The classes focus on math, writing, skills, social studies, reading and science, as well as reading comprehension and study skills.
The Pre-G.E.D. programs are designed to prepare intermediate level students for entrance into the G.E.D. program. The focus of instruction is on math, English, grammar and usage, writing skills, and reading comprehension.
This program is designed to provide individual or small group instruction to all inmates under the age of twenty-two who have been diagnosed with learning or developmental disabilities. Individual testing is utilized to determine functional levels, strengths, weakness, and learning styles.
IV. Vocational Programs
Licensing requires that students obtain one thousand hours of hands-on experience and that they pass both a written and hands-on comprehensive licensing exam. The hours of hands-on experience generally requires a student to make a twelve to eighteen month commitment in order to successfully complete the barber program.
The building trades program is conducted for fourteen to twenty weeks and cover the areas of safety, rough and finished carpentry, electrical wiring, plumbing, sheet rock work and wood working. Mock-ups are used to provide hands-on experience unless institutional projects are available to be completed.
Computers For School
Computers in need of repair are donated to the Department of Correction. Inmates at MCI Shirley Medium repair the machines, which are then given at no charge to public schools.
The goal of this program is to familiarize each student with computer technology and how its capabilities can be utilized to accomplish various tasks. The focus is on skills needed to function effectively in an office environment. Students are provided with hands-on experience in the areas of basic literacy, keyboarding, word processing, data base use, spreadsheet use and simple programming. Instruction prepares students to take the Microsoft Office User Specialist (MOUS) certification test .
Culinary Arts is structured to provide both theory and hands-on experience in the areas of applied food service sanitation and hygiene and in professional cooking. The course of study generally runs for ten (10) months with the first five months focusing on obtaining the knowledge and skills required to successfully pass the National Restaurant Association's Education Foundation's certifying exam covering sanitation and hygiene. The second five months focuses on professional cooking and also leads to taking the National Restaurant Association's Education Foundation certifying exam in this area.
This program includes techniques on the production, care, and management of plants, flowers and shrubs including the instruction and practice in the methods of plant propagation, pruning, cultivation, and fertilization.
The sixteen-week welding program provides theory and applied instruction on oxyacetylene, MIG, TIG and stick welding. Individuals passing the licensing exam pre test are then able to take the State Welding Certification exam.
V. Library Services
Library Services encompasses both law and general library services. Institutional libraries are equipped to provide full library services and are staffed by one or two professional librarians depending on the needs of the institution. The general library is an information center for the institution, supporting, broadening and strengthening the institution's programs through materials and in-library programming such as literacy. Print and non-print materials are selected to meet the needs of a culturally, linguistically and educationally diverse population. Law collections contain Federal and State materials.