State shifting correctional ed programs to Ivy Tech

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Transition to reach Branchville by year's end; fewer than 10 staff affected

By Vince Luecke

INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana Department of Correction decision to restructure basic-education services for adult offenders will affect the jobs of about 115 educators employed at state facilities, including Branchville Correctional Facility in Perry County.

The Department of Correction recently announced it had completed a review of how it provides basic education programs to incarcerated adults and decided to partner with Ivy Tech Community College as its educational provider.

In a plan that will be rolled out in phases by regions of the state, Ivy Tech has agreed to begin providing GED, literacy and vocational programs, replacing state instructors. The move will affect fewer than 10 people at Branchville and is expected to save the state about $7 million a year.

The change is expected to take effect at Branchville by the end of the year.

About 80 percent of offenders are released to areas in Indiana within 40 miles of an Ivy Tech campus, and offenders will be able to finish their education at Ivy Tech upon their release from prison, the Department of Correction said in a news release.

The Ivy Tech partnership will standardize programs across the state.

The state will require Ivy Tech to offer interview opportunities to current teachers during its transition.

The change won't affect juvenile correctional facilities or college programs. No juveniles are housed at the Branchville but Oakland City University provides college-degree programs to offenders there.

University officials said the decision offers benefits to Hoosier taxpayers as well as offenders who will return to their communities.

"Ivy Tech is proud to join the Indiana Department of Correction in its endeavor to provide adult educational services in a more efficient, cost-effective way. This partnership is good for the offenders and the state of Indiana," said Ivy Tech president Thomas J. Snyder.