High School graduation rates appear to be on the rise across the country, but for one segment of the population, they’ve dropped dramatically. The pass rate for prison inmates taking the G-E-D plummeted after a new computer based test was introduced in 2014.
G-E-D stands for General Education Diploma. It’s a test people can take if they failed to get their high school degrees. Corrections facilities are facing new challenges in making the tests available to inmates, even as experts stress, there’s nothing better than that degree to keep people from returning to jail.
With 2.3 million Americans now behind bars, many states are looking at alternatives to jail time for those who commit non-violent crimes, but Virginia continues to imprison large numbers of people.
Crime in this country has fallen by more than 50% since the early 90’s, and Virginia has the third lowest rate of violent crime in the nation, but Lauren Brook-Eisen, a senior attorney with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU says Virginia ranks 13th when it comes to locking people up.
This week civic groups and nonprofits are taking a closer look at the importance of open government and freedom of information for Sunshine week.
Sunshine is absent in the death chambers of Virginia, where the public has no access to basic information about how inmates are killed. Policies and procedures outlining the process are concealed from view. Training manuals are closely guarded. Even specific details about how executions are carried out are kept secret.