A few college classes offered in Washington prisons - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

A few college classes offered in Washington prisons

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SEATTLE (AP) - Washington state prison inmates can earn the equivalent of a high school diploma behind bars, and they're encouraged to learn vocational skills through classes taught by community colleges. But since 1995 state law bans the use of tax money for post-secondary college classes in prison.

College-level classes are returning to prisons with private money.

Supporters say inmates who receive a college education are less likely to reoffend.

Last year, 980 Washington prison inmates completed a high school equivalent degree, and 1,800 received vocational certificates, but just 47 received a two-year college degree.

One program called University Behind Bars offers classes at the Monroe Correctional Complex, the Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla and the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center near the Tri-Cities.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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