Education opportunities provided federal prisoners include post-secondary education, a wide range of occupational training programs, and leisure-time activities. By policy, with minor exceptions, all federal prisoners who do not have a high school diploma or GED must enroll for 240 consecutive hours in the literacy program. Inmates may ask to be released from these programs after completing the mandatory hours, but may lose GCT if sentenced under VCCLA or PLRA. All promotions in Federal Prisons Industries and institution assignments beyond the entry level grade are contingent on successful completion of a literacy program.
Each inmate unable to verify completion of high school or the obtainment of a GED will be required to take a standardized achievement test (TABE or SABE). The results of this test will be used to determine appropriate placement in the GED program. Enrollment in the GED program is mandatory for individuals without verification of GED completion. Enrollment in all educational and vocational programs are considered at the inmate’s initial classification and program reviews.
The vocational programs at Petersburg are designed to provide trainees with entry level job skills for each trade taught. All of our VT programs utilize a competency based system of instruction. Successful completion of a program is directly tied to the mastering of certain competencies identified in course curricula. Successful completion of a competency area is related to performance on a given number of tasks and sub-tasks. Such a system enables trainees to progress through the course on a step-by-step basis. Performance and tests are incorporated into each step to assure trainees complete understanding before advancing to the next step. Related training is introduced through individual guidance and the use of programmed texts. Complete courses of instruction are offered (1) brick masonry (2) machine trades, (3) building/related trades. Apprenticeship programs are available in several programs.
All entry level VT programs are certified by the Department of Education, Commonwealth of Virginia. Apprenticeship programs are certified through the Bureau of Apprenticeship Training, Department of Labor.