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Quincy, California
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October 21, 2015     Feather River Bulletin
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October 21, 2015
 

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015 5B Ann Powers Staff Writer a powers@plumasnews.com Football games, parades and slow dancing to "Stairway to Heaven" can only mean one thing .... Homecoming is in the air. It's all part of the excitement and fun of getting a new school year underway and rewarding students as they advance to the next level of their academic careers. However, there's an invisible student population who won't share in those festivities, even though many educators say their curriculum is more academically rigorous than that of their peers -- on the outside. They are the 575 student inmates working toward their associate of arts degree through Feather River College's Incarcerated Student Program. In 2007, FRC opened its doors to inmates for the first time in the community college's history. ISP offers a free transferable A.A. degree, a Certificate in Business Entrepreneurialism and is beginning a vocational-technical culinary program. ISP started with 60 student inmates at the California Correctional Center in Susanville. It has grown to nearly 600 pupils, at 26 prisons statewide and one county jail. A.A. degrees have been awarded to 130 ISP graduates, according to Dr. Joan Parkin, ISP director and co-founder. "I firmly believe that no one -- regardless of class, creed, race, ethnicity, gender or sexuality -- should be denied access to the pursuit of a college Great Recession." signing up for classes There's also a safety because they're bored. benefit - inside and out. "I know what it feels like College Coordinator for Voluntary Education Program Troy Barker, FRC incarcerated student "Post-secondary to be the red-headed step Douglas Andrews and ISP Director Dr. Joan Parkin review the efficiency of using advanced education programs child," said Valerie Campa, technology in education. Photo submitted provide prisoners with an administrative assistant opportunities and tools for FRC's athletic required for successful department. "A lot of people degree," she said. "I believe education, rather a smarteducate a prisoner. The re-entry into society anddon't want athletics, so I that a college degree holds investment with a state's 85 percent has enormous public safety Sympathize with ISP. But, special meaning for the promising return, recidivism rate is the benefits," said former (prisoners) have to buy into incarcerated because, as according to San Quentin highest nationwide. CDCR Secretary James E. it. They have to really want B.B. King so eloquently educator J. Kaufman. "You do the math," said Tilton. "An ex-felon who is it." said, 'The beautiful thing "A major portion of Parkin. "Funds can be educated is a much betterThey do, according to the about learning is that no California's budgetary pie reallocated to other areas of neighbor than one who is convicts themselves. one can take it away from is spent on (California need by spending less not." "I don't know precisely you.'" Department of Correctionstaxpayer dollars on And, even for those when I started thinking that Maybe not. But, skeptics and Rehabilitation) incarceration, sentenced to life, the a purposeful life might still question the taking away incarcerating prisoners,"Program officials also National Council on Crimebe available to me," said of taxpayer dollars to he explained. "All the emphasized ISP provides and Delinquency reports Peter Nelson, a FRC student house and educate a preeminent prison research much needed revenue for violence is less likely to inmate housed at the Men's population, that some studies show that educating FRC. Since its inception,erupt if educational Colony in San Luis Obispo. feel, isn't deserving of inmates reduces the program has raised over programs are in place. "But, I do know that I privileges, recidivism." $3 million in funds, much of Many wardens, staffand wouldn't have reached that "There are people who Incarceration costs that from the increase inguards say the reduction in line of thought if the pay taxes, don't break the $48,000 per inmate per year Full Time Equivalent violence is one of the main instructors at Feather River law and have to pay in CalifOrnia. Studies show Student numbers generatedreasons they prefer to have hadn't given me cause to. tuition," said Jerry Hoover, an inmate with a two-yearby the program, educational and Their input led to a a former FRC criminal college degree has 17 "The revenue has rehabilitation programs in fundamental shift in what I justice instructor and police percent likelihood to helped to sustain costly their facilities, thought about my own chief. "And then you have re-offend, compared to an 85 unique programs and Others questioned an capabilities, and what I inmates who have broken percent recidivism rate for helped the college survive inmate's commitment to believed was attainable. I the law and they get a free those without any collegeduring lean financial learning, versus just found myself hoping." education?" experience, years," said Parkin. Not so much a free It costs about $6,000 to "Particularly during the SIERRA VALLEY BARNS ~6~1 ~hwa)z~7.Q, ~ l~eckwourth, CA Rural Health Clinics Suicide prevention training held at Feather River College Maggie Wells Staff Writer mwells@plumasnews.com On Thursday, Oct. 8, a "safeTalk" suicide prevention training took place at Feather River College. Student Cassy Elzea, who is also part of the Indian Valley Youth Summit, which seeks to support at-risk teens in Indian Valley, was the main organizer. Daela Gibson gave the four-hour training. From Reno, Gibson told the group she was the geographically closest trainer available for suicide prevention training. Gibson encouraged attendees to talk openly about suicide and to ask questions of those who may be suicidal. Her presentation stressed the need for openness and frank conversations. "Instead of avoiding the question because you think it's uncomfortable or awkward, people should ask the big question: Are you thinking of killing yourself?." she said. Elzea remarked, "I thought I had known a lot, but realized during the training that the way I was approaching suicide in the past wasn't the best way. I was able to learn new approaches to get potentially suicidal individuals the help they need." "I would really like to break the stigma and quit sugar coating the word 'suicide.' Hopefully we can get a support group for students on campus," Elzea said. Elzea voiced concern that this training also needs to happen in Greenville. "IVYS has done trainings in the past, but there's younger students now and many of the older ones have graduated." The training was attended by a few students and staff from Feather River College, as well as community members. Another suicide prevention training is planned to take place at FRC in January or February. 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