Dallas/ Politics & Govt
AI Assisted Icon
Published on April 19, 2024
Tarrant County Sheriff and Notre Dame Join Forces to Offer Inmates Skills for New BeginningsSource: Tarrant County Sheriff's Office

In a commitment to reducing recidivism through education, the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office has teamed up with the University of Notre Dame to launch the Next Phase program, which aims to equip inmates with marketable skills for their eventual return to the outside world. According to the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office, the initiative currently features two courses inside jail facilities: a welding program that leverages virtual reality technology and another focusing on imparting business acumen.

Tarrant County inmates are getting a unique opportunity to break the chains of their current predestinations with these courses, the welding program is not just a simulated educational stint but a chance at a tangible future given its use of virtual reality gear, and the business class designed to build a foundation of entrepreneurial knowledge that can pave the way for self-employment or coveted positions in corporate circles.

The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office has expressed pride in this partnership, which looks beyond incarceration and towards potential long-term solutions for poverty—which is often a key driver behind criminal activity. The collaborative effort with Notre Dame’s Lab for Economic Opportunities intends to scrutinize how educational interventions while incarcerated can alter the trajectories of those released, by providing them with economic stability and thereby diminishing the odds of reoffending.

The long-term impact of these classes on detainee futures is in the process of being gauged by the partners involved, from both the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office as they facilitate the program directly within prison walls to the researchers at Notre Dame who shall trace the post-release journey of participants to assess how the newfound skills correlate with reduced poverty and hopefully a decline in return trips to the jail.