Inmates looking forward to NMTI pilot program—DOC chief

Posted on Oct 01 2021


Inmates who will soon be participating in a pilot program between the Department of Corrections and the Northern Marianas Technical Institute are excited to begin taking introductory trades classes through NMTI, according to Corrections Commissioner Wally Villagomez.

He said Monday at the “Kick Off Ceremony” at NMTI’s Lower Base facility that the inmates believe the program will greatly benefit them when they re-enter society and search for work.

“They’re excited about this program because it’s going to benefit them. If they get out [of DOC], at least we’re preparing them for society and they will be able to find jobs [through] all the training that they receive,” he said.

Monday’s proceedings at NMTI involved the signing of a memorandum of agreement between NMTI and DOC, making official a pilot program that would allow inmates to take introductory trades courses through NMTI. The inmates will meet in a classroom at DOC twice a week for 20 weeks.

Upon completion of 20 weeks of study, inmates will receive a certificate of completion, and after that will be asked to complete a survey to choose a specialized course of choice to study next.

Villagomez said that conversations between DOC and NMTI first began with Sgt. Jeffery Quitugua, and not too long after DOC legal counsel Leslie Healer became involved in the efforts to make the NMTI-DOC pilot program a reality. When asked if he has heard any feedback so far on the upcoming program, Villagomez said that inmates are “excited.”

“It started out with my staff, Sgt. Jeffery Quitugua, who began meeting up with NMTI. When we got close to the [NMTI Kick Off Ceremony], our legal counsel [stepped in] to work things out,” said Villagomez.

When asked how many inmates will be participating in the NMTI-DOC program, Villagomez said he and DOC are not allowed to disclose that number.

Joshua Santos | Reporter
Joshua Santos is a Mount Carmel School AlumKnight and University of Florida Gator Grad with a passion for writing. He is one of Saipan Tribune’s newest reporters. Josh enjoys golf, chess, and playing video games with friends in his spare time. Reach out to him @rarebasedjosh on all socials.

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