LARNED — A new carpentry vocational program for offenders at the Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility (LCMHF) is one of several innovations being made possible by a partnership with Barton Community College and LCMHF.
As a team, Barton and the Kansas Department of Corrections are providing offenders the opportunity to improve their chance for success upon release through vocational and educational programming while incarcerated.
Barton Community College purchased a metal building for LCMHF to house a new carpentry vocational program. LCMHF purchased materials to complete the interior of the building and has provided the staff and offender labor to construct the building.
It is only through this partnership with Barton that LCMHF will be able to provide this new vocational program to minimum security offenders, most who are near release.
Doug Waddington, LCMHF warden, said there is great value to public safety and reduction of recidivism in providing educational and vocational programs to offenders.
According to a RAND Corporation report in 2013, offenders who receive general education and vocational training are significantly less likely to return to prison after release and are more likely to find employment than peers who do not receive such opportunities. Employment after release was 13 percent higher among offenders who participated in either academic or vocational education programs than those who did not. Those who participated in vocational training were 28 percent more likely to be employed after release from prison than those who did not receive such training.
“The dedication of this new vocational building is a celebration of Barton’s and LCMHF’s commitment to the safe and successful return of offenders to our communities,” Waddington said. “Without the partnership, this wouldn’t have been possible.”
Waddington invites the public to join Barton Community College officials and LCMHF at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. at West Unit for the ribbon cutting and opening of the new vocational building! There will be a hosted Chamber of Commerce Coffee Hour in conjunction with the ribbon cutting and dedication.