Cobb County Sheriff’s Office offers GED to detainees

The program is among those aiming to help inmates prepare for success

The Cobb County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with CobbWorks and the Cobb County School District to provide GED testing at the Adult Detention Center. The testing will take place every Tuesday as long as there are detainees ready for testing.

“It took four months of hard work and coordination to ensure our detainees had the proper documentation needed to get funding for the test and to ensure rigorous site standards at the jail were met,” Capt. Yaminah Holt, who oversees detainee programming at the county jail, said in a statement. “I’m happy to announce that one of our detainees passed the first onsite GED test.”

Previously, Cobb detainees ready to sit for the GED were transported to other jails in the metro area.

“Sheriff (Craig) Owens is committed to helping Cobb detainees make the most use of their time while in our custody so they can be more productive once they get out of jail,” said Holt.

Other area detention centers have also made efforts to help detainees transition after being in custody. A number of facilities offer training in areas including landscaping, animal training, cosmetology and other disciplines.

Some Fulton County Jail inmates have been able to help train dogs through the Canine CellMates program, a charitable organization created in 2013. Founder Susan Jacobs-Meadows said the program has helped more than 300 inmates break the cycle of incarceration by teaching patience, life skills, goal setting and job etiquette.

“Dogs have the ability to impart the change, she said in an interview last year. “They have the ability to look inside of us and find the good in every person,” she said. “People do bad things for all kinds of different reasons, but they’re not bad humans. Dogs have the ability to find that and also help that person see that.”

DeKalb County launched a job training program for inmates in 2019.

“This is not just about a job for them, this is going to be about a career and the next step in their lives,” Theresa Austin-Gibbons, director of WorkSource DeKalb, said at the time.

The Gwinnett County Department of Corrections held a ceremony for its first class of vocational program graduates in 2018. The 18-week program is offered through a partnership between Gwinnett County Corrections, the Georgia Department of Corrections, the Atlanta Regional Commission and Gwinnett Technical College.

Newton County celebrated the first graduates of its women’s welding training program at the Newton County Sheriff’s Office last year.

“What I see before me today are confident, extraordinary, motivated, and successful women,” Lisa Gautreaux, president and CEO of Action Inc., said then. “There is an incredible path before you, a path of success, and you know what it takes to run with it. It’s all up to you.”

- This article includes past reporting from Karen Huppertz, Tia Mitchell, Caroline Silva and Alexis Stevens.