Larned prison plans to add career technical classes for inmates

Courtesy: Barton Community College

BARTON COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – The changes coming to the Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility (LCMHF) gives Barton Community College an opportunity to help out with the facility’s new mission — to lower the state’s recidivism rates, in other words, keeping a convicted individual from re-offending.

According to the Kansas Department of Corrections, men, ages 18-25, are the state’s highest recidivism group, with almost 40% re-offending after being released.

“One of the risk factors for that demographic is lack of education, lack of job skills, and that’s what we’re hoping that this program addresses,” said Tim Easley, a deputy warden at LCMHF.

Barton Community College will provide two instructors for General Education Development (GED) courses. Officials said their instructors are very involved in correctional education.

“It is something that motivates them, that gives them great reward,” said Barton Community College vice president Elaine Simmons.

Inmates will also get the opportunity to take career technical classes, such as carpentry or welding.

“So that upon release, they come to us in society and they bring those skills,” said Simmons.”If all works as we hope, they will acquire a job, and they will contribute and work.”

The college’s education and vocational model is also being done at Ellsworth Correctional Facility, where it has seen a lot of success. The Department of Corrections expects the same for Larned.

“Our staff are really excited about being able to impact the states recidivism rates,” said Easley.

The correctional facility and the college are still in the planning and development phase of the new program, but they expect it to start in the next few months.