ESL (English as a Second Language)
The ESL Program is designed to teach non-English speaking students the English language. Upon completion of this program, students receive a certificate of completion and an incentive award of $25.00.
Essential skills such as reading, writing, vocabulary, and oral communications, are taught through classroom and individual learning techniques in this program. The focus of this program is for the student to reach a level of proficiency in the English language which will enable them to continue their education.
GED (General Education Development)
The Education Department offers a GED educational program designed to prepare students to take the test to acquire their GED Certificate. The GED program is mandatory for all inmates who do not have a verified high school diploma or a GED certificate.
Incentive awards may be given to students in recognition of exemplary progress, achievement at various levels, and completion of educational programs. A $25.00 incentive award is given to all who successfully complete the GED or ESL program. Certificates are issued for completion of most classes. We encourage you to keep the certificates in a secure place, as they document your skills and training and will be helpful in your future employment.
The Violent Crime Control Law Enforcement Act (VCCLEA) mandates that an inmate with a date of offense on or after September 13, 1994, but before April 26, 1996, lacking a high school credential, participate in and make satisfactory progress toward attainment of a GED credential in order to vest Good Conduct Time (GCT).
The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) provides that in determining GCT 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, in order to be eligible to earn the maximum GCT.
In order to acquire and maintain satisfactory progress an inmate must:
1. Enroll and make progress toward completing the GED program.
2. Maintain clear conduct while in the GED program.
3. Remain in GED program until completion is achieved.
The GED program prepares students in the five areas tested: writing skills, social studies, science, reading skills, and mathematics. Pretests are given to ensure the student’s success on the GED exam. Requirements for completion of the GED program are passing scores on the official GED test of at least 410 in each of the 5 areas and an overall average of at least 450.
Blinn College is a fully accredited junior college offering a one year certificate program in Information Management, Medical Transcription/Coding, and Small Business Administration/Entrepreneurship course. All programs consists of 36 accredited college hours which may be applied to other business programs.
The basic literacy standard is a GED or high school diploma. All inmates entering the institution who cannot verify receipt of a diploma or a GED are required to take the Tests of Adult Basic Education (TABE) or the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) test and enroll in a literacy class.
The TABE and CASAS are not pass or fail tests. Test results assist Education staff in assessing individual academic achievement levels. Inmates with a verified GED, high school diploma, or post-secondary degree are not required to take the TABE or CASAS test. Verification of a high school diploma must be received by the Education Department within sixty (60) days of the inmate’s arrival.
Vocational Training Courses
The Master Gardener/Horticulture program is accredited through the Texas Agricultural Extension Service Center. This program provides job skills which will enable the student to pursue employment in a nursery, greenhouse, or landscape construction and maintenance field. The curriculum includes basic botany, soils and fertilizers, basics of entomology, plant pathology, pesticides, plant propagation, pruning, vegetable gardening, floral design, and landscape design. Classroom instruction is supplemented with live work projects conducted throughout the institution. Requirements for successful completion of the program are four months (400) hours of instruction, lab work, live work projects, and passing scores on tests. Upon successful completion of the Master Gardener/ Horticulture Program, each student is awarded 40 continuing education units and a Horticulture Technician Certificate from the Texas A&M Extension Service. Cost of testing will be incurred by the inmate participant.
The Cosmetology course curriculum is coordinated through Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations. All students who successfully complete this course will take the State of Texas’ Cosmetology Exam to become a licensed Cosmetologist. Students will be instructed in all areas of Cosmetology covered on the State Board Exam. Only after completing and passing both the class written and practical exam with a score of 75% or better will a student be allowed to take the State Board Exam. Requirements for successful completion of this program are 12 months (1500) hours of instruction and lab work, as well as a passing score on the State Board Exam. Cost of the program will be incurred by the inmate participant.
Inmate Cosmetology Services
Cosmetology services are offered to the inmate population by students who have completed and students currently active in the program. Information regarding services offered through the Cosmetology program is available in the Education Department Resource Center. All inmates requesting to receive services in the Cosmetology Clinic must purchase a cosmetology towel and cape from the inmate commissary. In addition, all hair styling aides (i.e. shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, etc.) must be provided by the inmate at the time of the scheduled appointment. All color and perm treatments are the responsibility of the inmate and may be purchased from the inmate commissary. Indigent inmates may send a request for product to the Supervisor of Education for approval.
Parenting classes include information on communication skills, building self-esteem, discipline, child abuse, and childhood illness, immunization and nutrition.
Faith Based Parenting Padres a Bordo (Spanish) Parenting From a Distance
Family First Sure and Simple STEP (Spanish)
Creative Parenting Once Upon a Time STEP (English)
Five Essentials of Long Distance Story Time
Adult Continuing Education Courses
Several courses are offered intermittently throughout the year. These classes are taught by either staff members or inmate facilitators. Some of these courses are:
Creative Writing Sign Language Excel/Word
Spanish Mavis Beacon Typing PowerPoint Elements of Entrepreneurship
CLEP (College Level Examination Program):
CLEP courses are designed to prepare students for the CLEP test. If a student passes the test, they will earn 3 hours college credit in that course. The preparation course is free, but the testing fee is $75.00.
Courses are offered at various times throughout the year; current courses offered include: Sociology; Psychology; American Government; History; English Comp I; and College Algebra. Additional course offerings may be available. Visit the Education Resource Center for the most up to date information on program offerings.
The Apprenticeship program is designed to provide hands-on training in a work environment that leads to a Department of Labor Certificate of Completion. There are 3 Apprenticeship programs currently active:
Culinary Arts – Baking 6000 hours
Dental Apprenticeship 2000 hours
Landscape Maintenance Technician 2000 hours