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020619frontinmates.jpg

GED PROGRAM TEAM CELEBRATES - Shown above with their celebration cake are past and present members of the NWTC/Marinette County Sheriff's Department team that has helped 202 Marinette County Jail inmates earn GEDs or HSEDs since their inmate education partnership began in 2005. In the photo, not necessarily in order, are Marinette County Sheriff's Department Inmate Program Director Joe Moser, Grant Kuehnl, Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Sauve, Jail Administrator Bob Majewski, and Ellen Hanneman, original Inmate Education Program Officer, plus NWTC partners Gary Johnson, Kathy Mattson, Shannon Bennett, Maria Dziekonski, Jeanne Lorenz, Roxy Bowdin and former NWTC Dean Patrick O'Hara. Assistant Jail Administrator Tom Bourque was not able to attend. Moser thanked everyone who was able to help celebrate the 200th GED, and said he is looking forward to another celebration when the 300th milestone is reached. "Everyone involved, past and present, should be very proud of their hard work and the accomplishments of the students" he declared.

Marinette County Celebrates 200th GED For Jail Inmates

Issue Date: February 7, 2019

A celebration of the 200th GED earned by Marinette County Jail inmates since the partnership between Marinette County and Northeast Wisconsin Technical Institute began in 2005 was the highlight of the county's Public Services Committee meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Persons instrumental in the program gathered in the County Board Room of the Marinette County Courthouse to enjoy cake and conversation before the official committee meeting began at 1:30 p.m.

Inmate Education and Programs Sergeant Joe Moser reported the partnership with NWTC on the inmate education program remains highly effective. Twelve inmates have received their GEDs already this year, and two more had achieved that goal just this week. He thanked the jail staff and officers for shuffling inmates, and thanked NWTC staff for their cooperation that enabled the partnership to hit the mark of 200 GEDs or HSEDs earned, ""which is a great accomplishment!"

Jail administrator Bob Majewski gave a brief recap of how the program began.

In the late 1990s into early 2000s, planning for the new law enforcement center was underway, with rooms designed for inmate programs. In March of 2004 the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee (CJCC) had tours of both the new jail facility and NWTC.

In February of 2005, Pat O'Hara, who then was NWTC Dean, discussed with the CJCC programs available for inmates and they discussed a video system between the two buildings for GED and HSED classes. During this time Officer Stephanie Timblin was tasked wit trying to coordinate this and other programs at the jail while carrying on her other Corrections Officer duties.

In October of 2005, through the CJCC, a sub-committee was formed to work out the program for inmates to earn their GEDs while incarcerated.

By December of 2005 video equipment was in place for the program to begin, and NWTC staff were available 24 hours per week.

In January of 2006 ten inmates took initial tests and eight more were interested. In March of 2006 there was talk of the jail becoming a testing site and volunteers started tutoring inmates who had low TABE test scores.

In October of 2008 Marinette County was asked to budget money for educational programs in the jail.

In December of 2008 it was reported to the CJCC that three inmates had received GEDs in 2007 and 11 had earned the degrees in 2008.

Changes were made, and October 15 was the last time jail inmates needed to be transported to NWTC for testing as the jail had been approved as a GED test site.

Then in February of 2010, Ellen Hanneman became Marinette County's first Inmate Education and Education Corrections Officer.

Through the hard work of Kathy Cleven (a former county employee in Finance and many other county employees a grant had been received through the Recovery Act Rural Law Enforcement Assistance Enhancing Rural Corrections, Detention & Jail Operations program.

"This is when we were really able to take off," he declared. He said other programs were offered in addition to GEDs to give inmates the opportunity to obtain tools they may need to become productive members of society. He thanked everyone for the efforts and hard work that helped make this and many other programs successful.

Gary Johnson, who has been an NWTC Instructor for 32 years, told the Public Services Committee that when he goes to meetings in other areas he hears that an average of 15 percent of jail inmates who need them earn their GEDs during their time in jail. In Marinette County about 70 percent of inmates will earn the degree that helps them get meaningful jobs when they are released or enables them to go on to further education. "None of this gets done without a great team effort," he declared. He introduced NWTC staff members present. He said the educational component of the jail does pay, recidivism among inmates is going down, "and I am proud to be part of it."

Supervisor Glenn Broderick asked if there is a followup to determine what happens to the inmates who did complete their GEDs, but there is not. Moser said however that people from the Job Center help them fill out job resumes and help them arrange further education if they want it.

Sheriff Jerry Sauve said being in jail is a motivating factor for inmates to earn GEDs, and the judges, initially Judge David Miron was particularly receptive to reducing jail time in return for earning jail credits. Former Judge Tim Duket, and now also Judge James Morrison cooperate with the program.

"It takes the entire staff to move people around"this is a tremendous accomplishment," Sauve concluded.

Supervisor George Kloppenberg, chairing the meeting, saluted those who worked with the program, and also commended the people who earned the GEDs.

In his monthly report to the committee Moser said five inmates are currently enrolled in the Adult Education Program. In 2018, 86 GED Tests were taken within our facility with 74 of those tests receiving a passing grade. In total 11 inmates received their General Education Diplomas in 2018.

The next Marinette County OWI Victim Impact Panel is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 7, with Dick Kendall and Jeff Niesen as speakers.

We currently do not have any community service workers in use. 2018 saw a return to our Highway Cleanup Program which accumulated over 80 bags of trash and debris from our county highways in around 12 miles worked. In total, the community service program earned 92 days credit off of inmate sentences. Currently the jail has approved community service programs with the Salvation Army, the City of Peshtigo Parks and Recreation Department, the Marinette County Maintenance Department, and the Peshtigo Riverside Cemetery Group.

There was data on several other programs such as anger management, Male Domestic Violence, Female Self-Esteem, and more.

In 2018, 118 inmates completed programs while incarcerated, and this number doesn't account for inmates who participated in programs such as NA, AA, religious studies and jail outreach, which are continuous and do not have completion dates. Inmates earned a total of 141 days credited off of their sentence for completing programs.

Moser's program continues to run to run weekly resume building workshops, facilitated by the Job Center of Wisconsin. In these workshops inmates work one-on-one to update existing resumes and creating new ones to assist in obtaining employment post release, or obtaining employment while incarcerated and utilizing their work release privileges. He said to his knowledge eight individuals have begun working with local employers as a direct result from the program, and countless others received post incarceration interview requests.

On the day of the meeting there were 122 jail occupants, 10 on Huber, 12 on sober link, and four on electronic

monitoring.

On recommendation of County Administrator John LeFebvre the committee agreed that Medical Examiner Kalynn VanErmen can continue serving as secretary of the Wisconsin Coroners and Medical Examiners Association Board, a position she began while working for the Brown County Medical Examiner's office.

The committee also approved purchase of a new 2019 Ford Police Responder pursuit rated 4X4 truck for use of Sheriff Sauve from Ewald Automotive Group through the Wisconsin State Contract for $33,972, and assignment of a motor pool to VanErmen to be kept at her home for quick response to calls.

As recommended by VanErmen the committee approved a lease agreement with st. Vincent Hospital for morgue use at a cost of $7,000 per year, which is a savings over the $15,000 that had been paid through a Brown County contract.


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