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May 10, 2018 06:10 PM

Inmates Celebrate GED Graduation

Sioux Falls

South Dakota inmates have something to celebrate.

Several are now graduates of the GED program.  

After dropping out of school in the 8th grade, Joseph Carpenter never thought he'd be in the graduation lineup. 

"It's great actually. It's a big achievement for me," Inmate Joseph Carpenter said. 

Now, the 30-year-old is eyeing a new big achievement. 

Kelli Volk: What's next for you?
Carpenter: I'm thinking about going to community college when I get out. I'd really like to get into criminal justice.

Fellow graduate Jerry Jackson also sees new possibilities. 

"I can go and apply for a job and say I got a diploma," inmate Jerry Jackson said. 

The graduates aren't the only ones with something to gain from this milestone, if you ask Penitentiary Warden Darin Young. 

"In our workforce today, they need good workers. If we can give them that extra jump, that extra piece that maybe they were missing before, society is going to benefit. The employers are going to benefit by hiring these guys and they're going to be a little further ahead," Penitentiary Warden Darin Young said. 

On top of joining the workforce someday, DOC Chief Warden Bob Dooley has another job in mind for the graduates: mentoring kids. 

"Go out there and teach them what you've learned. You know what that is? That's how to earn things by working hard," DOC Chief Warden Bob Dooley said. 

Carpenter already has a message for others. 

"If I can do it, I'd say everyone can do it," Carpenter said. 

More than 140 GEDs have been awarded across the DOC this fiscal year. 

Here's a look at past numbers from the South Dakota Department of Corrections. 

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