Cumberland Times-News

Local News

April 6, 2013

Corrections official: Inmate rehabilitation best for society

CUMBERLAND — A primary objective of the correctional system is to do what it can to make sure that when an inmate is released they can create a successful life and remain on the outside, said Rick Binetti, the executive director of communications for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

“It’s best if they remain free and productive members of society,” said Binetti.

With around 2.3 million people incarcerated, the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world according to officials.

The U.S. holds 5 percent of the world’s population, but has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. Maryland inmates number around 23,000, which is the maximum capacity of its system.

With rehabilitation a stated goal of prison officials, what can be done?

Inmates do have access to college-level courses while incarcerated.

However, the use of taxpayer dollars to fund an inmate’s education, particularly at the college level, has been a hotly debated topic for years.

Brian Shea, who was released in 2011 from the Western Correctional Institution in Cresaptown, said that he obtained a GED, the equivalent of a high school level diploma, while incarcerated.

“Prison saved my life,” said Shea, who is currently trying to get admitted to college to become a substance abuse counselor.

“I want to help others now. If I can save one person from going through what I went through it will be worth it,” said Shea, who served 10 years and 9 months following a drug fueled stretch of criminal activity.

“One of the most important things that can happen is for them to be successful. We don’t want them back into the system,” said Binetti.

Binetti said about 1,300 inmates are currently taking college level courses in prison.

According to correctional services, 26,577 inmates are enrolled in academic and occupational classes.

“The department tries to help them better themselves. Taking courses while incarcerated is encouraged,” said Binetti.

Inmates can also take mail order classes at their own expense. Binetti said mail order degrees are available.

“We want them to develop marketable skills,” he said.

One of the stated objectives of the DPSCS is to supply offenders and ex-offenders the tools necessary to stay out of the criminal justice system.

However, online courses are not available.

“Offenders are not permitted access to the internet,” said Binetti.

Workplace skills received a boost at the North Branch Correctional Institution in Cresaptown in 2012 when an upholstery plant was opened inside that facility.

The DPSCS, in an effort to help inmates transition to life on the outside, also assists convicts in getting documents such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses and social security cards.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Overturned tanker upsets Oakland Overturned tanker upsets Oakland

    OAKLAND — Two large commercial wreckers were being used at mid-afternoon Wednesday to upright a tanker full of liquid propane that overturned several hours earlier in downtown Oakland and forced evacuation of the business district.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Park Service opens Canal Classrooms Park Service opens Canal Classrooms

    CUMBERLAND – The National Park Service held a ribbon-cutting event Wednesday for a new program called Canal Classrooms, which will offer students pre-K through fifth grade accredited classwork on the Canal Place grounds.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CODY EVERSOLE Eversole named 2014 Kelley Award winner

    KEYSER, W.Va. — Keyser High School senior Cody Eversole was named this year’s J. Edward Kelley Award winner during a ceremony Wednesday morning at Potomac State College.
    The award is presented to an outstanding male student-athlete in each year’s senior class.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • South Cumberland home rebuilt after fire South Cumberland home rebuilt after fire

    CUMBERLAND — A South Cumberland home destroyed by fire last July was given a second chance recently after the owner decided he wanted to remain a part of the neighborhood and had his house rebuilt.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mineral BOE gives $18K to library

    KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to give the Keyser-Mineral County Public Library $18,000 for fiscal 2015 and to give the Piedmont library an additional $1,000 out of carryover funds.

    April 16, 2014

  • The Eichhorn family Local family says hosting New York City children in summer is ‘wonderful experience’

    CUMBERLAND — Sonya and Christopher Morgan of Cumberland always planned on a hosting a child through The Fresh Air Fund Volunteer Host Family Program. “Christopher always said once we had kids of our own we were going to do it. When our son turned 6 we said, ‘OK, let’s do it,’” said Sonya.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • City, county officials to talk baseball at work session

    CUMBERLAND — During today’s Allegany County Commission work session, a proposal to study the possibility of bringing a professional-level baseball team to the area will be vetted again, this time with participants from the city of Cumberland.

    April 16, 2014

  • Report: High-quality child care lacking in West Virginia

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Child care programs of minimum or unrated quality are watching over about 93 percent of West Virginia children enrolled in them, a report released Wednesday said.

    April 16, 2014

  • JIM HINEBAUGH Hinebaugh seeks Garrett County commissioner post

    Jim Hinebaugh recently announced his candidacy for Garrett County commissioner. A Garrett County native and lifelong Republican, Hinebaugh graduated from Southern High School and attended Frostburg State University before entering the U.S. Army via the draft. After serving as an enlisted member, Hinebaugh completed Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He retired as a colonel/06 in 1995 with almost 29 years of service including eight years overseas.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • In Brief - 04/17

    April 16, 2014