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Julie L. Jones, Secretary

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October 21, 2014
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Pensacola News Journal: Local program helps inmates earn diplomas online

Published October 20, 2014

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A Pensacola-based online education program is partnering with the Florida Department of Corrections to help state inmates earn high school diplomas.

In the coming weeks, Smart Horizons Career Online Education and the FDOC Online Campus will begin online education programs at seven correctional facilities throughout the state. Eight facilities in the state already are participating in the program.

… Some of the available certifications include childcare education, office management, transportation services, food service and more.

Ultimately, the goal of the program is to increase the likelihood that prisoners find gainful employment upon their release and reduce the likelihood they return to prison.

"Earning a high school diploma is a very important event in people's lives and this is especially so for inmates who have traditionally faced educational challenges," Dr. John L. Lewis, chief of education for the Florida Department of Corrections' Office of Re-Entry

Smart Horizons Career Online Education was founded in Pensacola in 2009 as a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredited online school district. It launched its partnership with the FDOC in 2012.

… The Everglades Correctional Institution in Miami-Dade County will be the first of the seven new online-campus enabled corrections facilities.


As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 22,000 members statewide, incarcerates more than 100,000 inmates and supervises nearly 146,000 offenders in the community.

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