February 24, 2024

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New Larimer County Jail program allows inmates to take education courses

Inmates in the Larimer County Jail can now take education classes while serving a sentence or awaiting trial.

Starting at the end of March, incarcerated people at the jail have access to more than 400 educational courses programs on tablets provided to each inmate, according to a news release.

Using the tablets, inmates can access an electronic library, rehabilitation courses that aim to help reduce recidivism, career exploration, job search and resume building, personal finance, religious courses, substance use and mental health self-help courses, and academic and vocational courses, according to the release.

Inmates have free access to these courses, which include instruction on becoming an auto mechanic, going into child care or getting a GED, Lt. Staci Shaffer said. Any inmate — whether they have been sentenced to jail or are awaiting trial in their case and can’t afford or don’t have a bond — can access the courses for free. If they have incomplete courses when they are released, they can still finish them for free by contacting the company, Edovo, at edovo.com.

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More than 175 people in the jail had signed up for the education program as of the end of March, according to a news release, which accounts for about 37% of the jail’s inmate population.

Female inmates occupy the common area of a cell block at the Larimer County Jail on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, in Fort Collins, Colo.

Female inmates occupy the common area of a cell block at the Larimer County Jail on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, in Fort Collins, Colo.

The education programs and classes can be accessed through one of the jail’s 600 tablets throughout the day. Inmates can also play games, rent movies or do legal research for their case using the tablets, but the tablets do not connect to the internet, Shaffer said.

The educational programs are “designed to encourage inmates to invest in their education while incarcerated and prepare for reentry into the community,” according to the news release.

Shaffer said she considers jail a “stopportunity” for people to “take the opportunity to stop and redirect” their lives, and in providing opportunities like this she hopes the jail will help people transition to a better life once they’re released.

“I hope with this education folks now feel like they can make a different choice,” Shaffer said.

A local solution: Colorado’s criminal defendants are waiting months for mental health treatment.

Sady Swanson covers public safety, criminal justice, Larimer County government and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your story ideas to her at [email protected] or on Twitter at @sadyswan. Support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.

This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: Larimer County Jail inmates can access education programs, courses