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FCI Petersburg’s ACE Course Announcement Highlights Program Shortcomings

By Christopher Zoukis

In a recent post, I presented the list of new Adult Continuing Education (ACE) course offerings at FCI Petersburg, medium security federal prison in Petersburg, Virginia.  These courses included GED Math, GED Writing, Marketing, Automobile Sales, and Bookkeeping.  While the FCI Petersburg Education Department staff should be commended for allowing the ACE program to continue, the downsized format and stunted offerings are strikingly more limited than what they used to be.  There is so much more that could be done.  There is so much more that used to be done and should still be done. 

While I’ve detailed the changes at the FCI Petersburg Education Department in previous blog posts, a succinct reminder is always of use.  Leading up to the early 2012 changing of the guard, the FCI Petersburg Education Department was in a period of expansion.  GED classes and library services were commenced as scheduled (for the most part), inmate leadership was accepted and allowed to thrive, and the Adult Continuing Education (ACE) program was in its heyday with traditional ACE courses being held Monday through Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons, too.  There was also a popular Self-Paced ACE program for those who did not make it into an ACE class (due to space limitations). There was also an inmate-led and envisioned FastTrack GED program — which operated at the same times as the traditional ACE courses — that was a resounding success.  FCI Petersburg Education Department staff were open and accessible.  The role they played was that of educators, not correctional officers.

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