PCC Providing Training to PCDC Inmates

Pitt County Sheriff Paula Dance and PCC President Lawrence Rouse sign paperwork making a new training partnership between the college and the Pitt County Detention Center official.

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College has entered a training partnership with the Pitt County Detention Center (PCDC) as part of an effort to reduce the rate of recidivism among detainees.

During a ceremony at the college Wednesday morning, PCC President Lawrence Rouse and Pitt County Sheriff Paula Dance signed an agreement for Pitt to provide general education, adult high school proficiency, life skills, resume writing and job readiness training at PCDC. The training, which is already underway, is being offered to inmates participating in PCDC’s Sheriff’s Heroin Addiction Recovery Program (SHARP) and Women’s Empowerment and Recovery (WEAR) initiative.

Saying she was “very, very, very excited” about the partnership with PCC, Dance explained that “closing the door on recidivism” was part of her 2018 campaign platform. After pointing out that drugs and poverty are two of the main reasons people go to jail, she said her hope is that the education PCC provides will help inmates become self-supporting by preparing them for additional training and/or the workforce.

“We all desire to pursue the American Dream, but the American Dream isn’t always available to everyone in society,” Dance said. “We must be able to give those who are incarcerated something to keep them from coming back after they’ve been released.”

Rouse also stressed the importance of serving the educational needs of PCDC inmates. “As a society,” he said, “we cannot write these people off and essentially give them life sentences by failing to give them a chance to better their lives through education.”

Rouse emphasized that PCC’s mission to “educate and empower people for success” applies to the population as a whole. “We’re thankful for the opportunity to serve these students at the detention center and, hopefully, give them another chance to improve their life’s circumstances,” he said.

The first round of training to be offered through the new partnership is called “Working Smart” and covers work and life skills that enhance employee productivity. A total of 17 inmates are participating in the two sessions taking place on Mondays—one for male inmates around midday and the other for female detainees in late afternoon.