The Florida Department of Corrections (FLDOC) and Smart Horizons Career Online Education (SHCOE) announced today that the FLDOC Online Campus program at the Central Florida Reception Center in Orlando has graduated its first class of inmates.  All graduates of FLDOC Online Campus have earned an accredited high school diploma and an advanced career certificate in this innovative educational program that is the first-of-its kind for correctional institutions. A ceremony was held at the Central Florida Reception Center recently to celebrate the graduation class.

“The Florida Department of Corrections is committed to its mission in ensuring public safety and providing inmates and offenders the tools and skills they need for a successful re-entry into the community,” stated Michael D. Crews, Florida Secretary of Corrections. “This graduation is an example of the Department working to reduce recidivism by promoting post-release success.”

The Florida Department of Corrections has partnered with Florida-based Smart Horizons Career Online Education, the world’s first SACS accredited online school district, to offer FLDOC Online Campus to inmates. The program was launched by the Florida Department of Corrections in 2012 and recently expanded to include fifteen correctional facilities in the FLDOC system. Inmates complete a career certificate as part of the program, so that they graduate with vocational skills that can be applied in a job post-release. The ultimate goal is to keep offenders from returning to prison.  FLDOC studies have shown that recidivism drops from almost fifty percent to twenty percent when inmates reengage their educational careers.

“It’s always very gratifying to meet FLDOC Online Campus students in person and see them graduate and look to a brighter future as a result,” stated Dr. Howard Liebman, CEO and Superintendent of the SHCOE district. “Smart Horizons Career Online Education is proud to team with the Florida Department of Corrections on this groundbreaking program that allows students to change their lives for the better.”

As Florida’s largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 22,000 members statewide, incarcerates more than 100,000 inmates and supervises nearly 146,000 offenders in the community.

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