The Philosophy of the Education Department at FCI Williamsburg is to provide a flexible education program in the belief that a coherent pattern of courses will help the inmate attain an education that will enhance effectiveness, success and productivity as a person and a citizen. Inmates can, and do, change their behaviors only when they themselves are motivated to do so. It is with these principles in mind that the education staff is personally committed to assist each inmate in attaining personal, educational, occupational and life skill goals. The Education Department supports these principles as well as those governing the occupational, recreational, and personal dimension of the inmate’s lifestyle. In fulfilling its function as a center of learning, the Education Department offers programs and services in the following areas; General Equivalency Diploma; English as a Second Language; Post-Secondary Education; Vocational Education; Social Education – Life Skills; Parenting; Adult Continuing Education; Career Counseling/Release Preparation; Recreation/Leisure Activities; Law and Leisure Library Services.
The Unit Team, including a representative from Education, programs and approves all course work. In most cases, inmates will be mandatorily enrolled in the General Education Development (GED) Program for 240 hours if the individual was sentenced on or after May 1, 1991, and does not have a documented High School Diploma or GED Certificate. Inmates will have 60 days from the date of their arrival at Williamsburg to provide verification of a GED or High School Diploma. Inmates may elect to withdraw from the program upon completion or when the required time in class has been satisfactorily fulfilled. Further, all inmates sentenced after May 1, 1991, will be required to obtain a GED or show documentation of a high school diploma to be eligible for promotion above pay grade 4. In addition, the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (VCCLEA)mandates that any inmate, with a date of offense on or after September 13, 1994, but before April 26, 1996, who does not have a high school credential, must participate and make progress toward attainment of a General Education Development (GED) in order to vest earned Good Conduct Time. The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) provides that in determining Good Conduct Time Awards, the Bureau of Prisons will consider whether an inmate with a date of offense on or after April 26, 1996, has earned or is making satisfactory progress toward attainment of a GED credential. Inmates with Deportation Detainers who were sentenced under either act must participate and make satisfactory progress in order to vest Good Conduct Time (VCCLEA), or be eligible to earn the maximum amount of Good Conduct Time (PLRA). An alien who is subject to a final order of removal, deportation, or exclusion is eligible for, but is not required to, participate in a literacy program, or to be making satisfactory progress toward earning a General Educational Development (GED) credential, to be eligible for a yearly award of good conduct time. The amount of good conduct time awarded for the year is also subject to disciplinary disallowance.
An inmate makes satisfactory progress unless one of the following occur:
1. The inmate refuses to enroll in the literacy program.
2. The inmate is found to have committed a prohibited act that occurred in a literacy program during the last 240 hours of the inmate’s most recent enrollment in the literacy program.
3. The inmate withdraws from the literacy program.
Likewise, all inmates who are not proficient at an 8th grade competency level will be mandatorily enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) if the individual was sentenced on or after May 1, 1991. Individuals with a deportation detainer are not required to attend. Participation in all other classes is voluntary.
All course work is recorded and entered into a reporting system, and a complete file is maintained by the Education Department. The Education Coordinator for each program initiates the scheduling procedures necessary for actual enrollment.
Selection of Courses
The selection of secondary or post-secondary courses is made by the individual inmate in cooperation with the Education Department. Inmates wishing to enroll in any of these courses must have completed their GED or possess a high school diploma.
The Testing Administrator functions as an Educational Advisor and will interview you prior to your classification with the Unit Team. During this meeting, they will go over your test scores and discuss educational programming based on your educational/vocational needs or desires. Your Educational Advisor will answer any questions you have concerning school and explain the programs offered. The Educational Advisor is primarily responsible for monitoring your educational progress and reporting any needs or problems to your Unit Team. This is the first person you should contact on any education related problems, concerns, requests or questions.
Education programs at this institution are considered an assignment. Unless you have a verified medical excuse in writing or are on call-out, you must be in class during your assigned class. Inmates will be notified by call-out when enrolled in any education program. Once enrolled in a course, the inmate is expected to report promptly to class and work toward completion of the course.
First-Day Attendance Procedures
Inmates scheduled for classes are placed on the call-out and/or the change-sheet for the first day of enrollment. In most cases, GED and ESL students begin classes on Monday. Once enrolled in a course, the inmate is expected to be prompt to class and to work toward completion of their program. Call-Out Sheets are posted daily. It is your responsibility to check Call-Out and Change Sheets each day!
All inmates who do not have a high school diploma or a GED are required to complete the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE)or the Spanish Assessment of Basic Education (SABE). Once this test is taken, inmates will be enrolled into the appropriate GED class. These tests should be taken seriously and completed to the best of your ability. A high score could lead you straight to the GED Examination. The GED Examination will be administered at the FCI and SCP for those inmates successfully completing the GED program or achieving a high passing score on the TABE test.
Literacy: The low level reading skills course is designed for those inmates who score below the 5th grade reading level as determined by the TABE test. These courses are held Monday through Friday. This course involves more intense individualized prescriptive instruction. A conglomerate of testing assessments will be utilized to determine each student’s strengths and weaknesses, including learning styles.
General Equivalence Diploma (GED): The General Equivalence Diploma (GED) program is designed to help each inmate attain a High School Equivalency or GED. Those inmates who have not completed high school and were sentenced to a BOP facility on or after 05/01/1991 are required to complete the GED program. An alien who is subject to a final order of removal, deportation, or exclusion is eligible for, but is not required to, participate in a literacy program, or to be making satisfactory progress toward earning a General Educational Development (GED) credential, to be eligible for a yearly award of good conduct time. The amount of good conduct time awarded for the year is also subject to disciplinary disallowance. The GED program is designed as preparation for the GED Exam. Within the program, the student pursues a course of study that enables him to develop a more advanced general knowledge in the five GED test areas; writing, mathematics, reading, science, and social studies. Specialized instruction and workbooks are available to the student. Academic level placement is determined by the results of the TABE exam administered to all applicable inmates within 90 days after arrival. Once the course work and testing is successfully completed, a High School Equivalency Certificate will be issued.
English as a Second Language (ESL)
This program affords inmates who do not speak English the opportunity to learn. Non-English speaking inmates are required to attend this program if the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) placement test is not passed with a score of 225 or higher. The exception to this requirement is inmates who have a detainer and are deportable. The first objective of the program is to teach basic vocabulary and conversational skills. As the student progresses, the vocabulary is expanded and written English is added to the curriculum. This program will have beginning and advanced levels.
Vocational Training (VT) is provided for inmates who want to acquire marketable job skills. Each VT program consists of live work and classroom instruction. Upon completion, the inmate will be prepared for an entry level position in the field of study and a general knowledge of related career options. The Education Department currently offers Introductory and Advanced Carpentry, Introductory and Advanced Cabinet Making, and Introductory and Advanced Culinary Arts.
The Education Department is currently approved for Electrical, Plumbing, HVAC, and Industrial Housekeeping apprenticeship programs through the State of South Carolina. You must be on the appropriate work detail to participate in these programs. See the program coordinator for additional information.
Post Secondary Education
Correspondence courses are authorized at FCI Williamsburg. However, all correspondence courses must be approved through the Education Department prior to enrollment and delivery of any materials.
The purpose of the Social Education Program is to provide inmates an opportunity to learn skills for their personal use. These can be in a variety of areas concerning development of the skills and knowledge necessary to be a successful and productive independent member of society. Topics may include: developing and maintaining various relationships; managing a budget; health and fitness; increasing personal knowledge and self-control, parenting skills and family support.
This course is presently being offered through the Education Department. This program offers a variety of workshops and activities. The course is designed to assist individuals in many areas including but not limited to the following:
a. Maintaining a positive relationship with your child while
b. Learn and recognize the various stages of human development
and how to contribute to your children’s needs.
c. Individuals will learn how to develop and foster self-
esteem and self-worth in your children.
d. Individuals will learn to recognize safety concerns which
will assist them in preventing and responding to childhood
Life Skills/Release Preparation
The Release Preparation course was organized to assist inmates who have less than two years remaining on their sentence, with the transition of reentering the mainstream of society. The course involves the following subjects: interviewing, resume writing, job hunting, completing applications, job retention skills, personal financial management, and pursuing further education and training.
Adult Continuing Education
Students interested in refresher skills or continuing education may sign up for various courses that are offered on a rotating basis throughout the year. Schedules of upcoming courses are posted on the Education and Unit Team Bulletin Boards for your review.