Essex County Sheriff’s Department inmates who have completed the educational programs provided by Northern Essex Community College were recently recognized in a ceremony at the Middleton House of Correction.
Jillian Nelson, deputy superintendent of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, said advances in education prove “great things can happen in the most unexpected places.” Speaker Dennis Everett, Director of Reintegration at UTEC, highlighted his own difficult childhood due to domestic violence and multiple incarceration.
“All of my earnings wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t done the internal work,” Everett said, asking inmates to “restore family relationships” and “forgive each other.”
The students have been recognized by Director of Education Darla Lamanna and staff at Northern Essex Community College, Spectrum Health Systems, Roca and UTEC.
Northern Essex has been offering educational programs for the Essex County Sheriff’s Department since 2019, when the college was selected through a competitive grant process. Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger has said providing educational opportunities for inmates is a priority. âOur motto is that every obstacle is an opportunity. We want our customers to know that if something comes in front of them, they can fall forward. “
North Essex has staff at the Middleton House of Correction, including on-site educational and professional advisers, learning specialists, inmate library legal librarians and a program director. Programs include preparation courses for students taking the high school equivalency exam, three-credit college courses, and a one-week course leading to certification as a peer tutor.
Dylan Flanagan received the highest score on the HiSET test and was the class’s promotion major. Wearing a royal blue graduation cap and gown, he said: âThe main thing I’ve learned is that whatever the situation, focus on the positive. Never give up because there is always a silver lining. Thank you for giving me the tools to find my good side.
Northern Essex President Lane A. Glenn spoke of a student who started taking classes at the correctional facility and moved to campus after being released mid-semester. The student is now enrolled in the college’s business management program.