DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Inmates in Dorchester County are using technology to learn and better their lives through a new initiative.
The Dorchester County Detention Center is using tablet devices to learn skills that could help them once they leave jail for the outside world.
“I decided to put it in place,” said Sheriff LC Knight. “It’s been very successful for us so far.”
Paytel, the company that provides phone calls and video visitation services to inmates, provides their “Pathway to Achieve” program at no additional cost to inmates or the jail.
“They told us that there has been 12,000 hours of education charged to the tablets,” Sheriff Knight said.
That is just in the first quarter of this year.
Inmates choose from 900 courses on various topics including how to handle stress and what to do if you have addiction problems.
“It trains them in a lot of things and helps them in recovery. Some of them maybe have an addiction problem, and [it] gives them some ideas on where they can get help and that kind of stuff,” he explained.
The top three categories inmates at the Dorchester County Detention Center are spending their time learning about are addiction recovery, self-control, and even how to be a better parent.
“A good many of our individuals who are staying there, or what I sometimes call deadbeat dads, forget they bring children into the world and they don’t wanna take care of them. So, somebody carries them to court and tries to get them to pay their fair share to take care of these children and this kind of helps them understand that I do have a responsibility,” said Sheriff Knight.
260 inmates completed one or more GED prep courses and 26 inmates completed all 160 GED courses.
“You know, even though there’s been some bad publicity about a lot of detention facilities, most of the sheriffs are trying to do what’s right because everyone in there is somebody’s loved one. And we are responsible for taking care of them.”
Paytel said the program has a value of nearly $392,000 if the county had to pay for it.