Inmates studying behind bars for the G.E.D.

Inmates studying behind bars for the G.E.D.

"Makes your time go by better. You actually are doing something with your mind instead of sitting and vegetating every day," said Ken Dyer, an inmate at the Al Cannon Detention Center.

He has been in jail for 15 months. He just received his General Education Diploma, testing in the top 99th percentile. The program is sponsored by the detention center and Trident Literacy Program.  The program's goal is to give inmates a chance to succeed once they're on the other side of jail walls.

For Dyer, he wants to succeed for someone else.

"I've got a little girl I need to take care of," he says.

Dyer won't be getting out anytime soon. He's charged with murder and awaiting his court date. However, his studying and accomplishments behind bars aren't wasted.

"I think it's good to say they've completed something, they can help other inmates, become tutors," said Jennifer Moxley, an adult educator who teaches at the jail.

"I wanted my G.E.D. on the street, but I never had time to get it. In here I don't have anything but time,"said Dyer

Andy Mills is charged with 2nd degree burglary. He never finished 10th grade and dropped out to get a job.  Now he's waiting for the day he can get another one.

"Their skills are sharper and they're ready to go out to get a job or go to school," said Moxley.

During class they feel like students, not inmates. Priding themselves on their scores and improvement.

"Testing book is about 2 inches thick.  I went through the whole book, did every test, front to back," said Dyer.

Some receiving their diplomas now will get out soon, and with this one sheet of paper they'll feel more confident.

"I'd like to see them achieve their GED then for someone who can potentially be released soon, to go in a use that diploma to get into college or the workforce."