By Christopher A. Vaughn
I was kicked out of high school my sophomore year due to attendance issues. Shortly after that I was arrested for several crimes that resulted in a 34-year prison sentence in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Coming to jail at seventeen and facing the many serious offenses I was faced with led me to a new thought process. One in which I was searching for a positive end to the tragic situation I had gotten myself into. My only solution was to gain the best education available to me in order to prepare myself for my return home. Since the Macon County Jail only offered G.E.D. classes for inmates who weren’t facing class X felonies, I wasn’t able to participate. My quest for education was put on hold. Image courtesy cafepress.com
After being sentenced, I was shipped out of the Macon County Jail and into the I.D.O.C. More specifically, Graham Correctional Center. I quickly signed up for G.E.D. classes and within two months I had successfully obtained my G.E.D.
In Illinois, first time offenders are placed on the top priority list when it comes to schooling, rather than ones who return to prison multiple times. Because I met the top priority qualifications, I was placed into a vocational course just weeks after receiving my G.E.D. My first choice was Small Business Management. After completing the 8-month course I enrolled in the Environmental Studies Course (commonly referred to as Custodial Maintenance).