NCSO Offers Incarcerated Individuals a Northeastern University Education, College Credits

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Thanks to the Norfolk County Sheriff's Office for contributing this news to Westwood Minute.

DEDHAM, MA – Norfolk County Sheriff Patrick McDermott announced this week that the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) has begun partnering with Northeastern University to provide college courses to justice-involved individuals housed at the House of Correction in Dedham.

“Education is one of the most important and impactful stepping stones to helping people get back on the right path and improve their lives,” said Sheriff McDermott. “This partnership with Northeastern University is already paying dividends among the men who are participating and now have college credits they can take with them after they’re released.”

Sentenced justice-involved individuals at the House of Correction who opt-in to the program receive virtual instruction from a Northeastern University professor in a series of 10-week general education courses that provide the students with college credits. These credits are transferrable to any accredited college or university after their release, including Northeastern University, where they have been enrolled as students.

Christopher Dawley, NCSO Director of Programs and Education, said the program has been very well-received by the justice-involved students who participated. “We are committed to ensuring that every person who chooses to participate is given the tools and encouragement to succeed, and these students are excelling in this program,” he said. “We’ve had perfect attendance for both classes, which is impressive, and every student in the first class got a B or above.”

NCSO students virtually participate in the classes, joining justice-involved students from Suffolk County and Middlesex County. In addition to class time, NCSO students receive additional library and classroom time to study and complete work. Educational staff at the NCSO serve as tutors to help students complete the program.

The partnership is funded by a grant received by Northeastern University from the United States Department of Education’s Second Chance Pell Experiment, which provides justice-involved individuals a chance to pursue higher education while incarcerated. Northeastern provides students with all the materials, including textbooks, that they need for the course. NCSO staff convey questions from students to the faculty members, who respond quickly and thoroughly.

Students are currently in the process of completing their second ten-week course, a general education course focused on identifying and assessing different types of leadership. The first class, completed in October, focused on organizational communication.

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