Fourteen inmates are currently participating in a pilot program between the Northern Marianas Technical Institute and the Department of Corrections, where inmates learn a trades skill that they can use later.
NMTI chief executive officer Jodina Attao said in an email Monday that the pilot program and the classes for the inmates began on Oct. 6 in a classroom that was set up at DOC’s Outreach Program facility. Luis Deleon Guerrero will be carrying out instruction with the inmates for the next 20 weeks, said Attao.
The inmates are taking “CORE: Intro to Construction Basics,” a prerequisite course for all construction-related programs at NMTI.
Attao said “so much detail” went into making the NMTI-DOC pilot program a reality. She emphasized the importance of providing inmates with opportunities to reintegrate successfully into society upon their release from DOC.
“So much detail has been put into the planning process to make this happen. I’d like to thank the DOC Commissioner, Wally Villagomez; legal counsel Leslie Healer; Sgt. Jeff Quitugua; and the NMTI faculty and staff for their time and effort in making this a possibility,” said Attao.
“Working with our correctional system allows us to assist with providing other avenues of promoting personal growth. It is our hope that as we continue to work with inmates, they will have a better chance of finding jobs upon their release, and play a part in decreasing [the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend]. We are looking forward to partnering with others who are interested in serving the underserved in our communities,” she added.
NMTI and DOC signed a memorandum of agreement last Sep. 27 that made official the pilot program where DOC inmates can take trades courses through NMTI. Once they complete “CORE: Intro to Construction Basics,” the inmates will be asked to complete a survey to choose a new specialized course for them to complete next.