Manitoba Daily

Saturday, December 9, 2023

A Manitoba prison education programme gives convicts hope for life after jail

Inmates in Manitoba are given hope for life after prison through an education programme.

Key Takeaways:

  • A programme that enables criminals at Manitoba’s Stony Mountain Institution to continue their education while serving their sentences will be expanded, according to the Correctional Service of Canada.
  • Having completed 11 courses at Stony Mountain, the University of Winnipeg intends to increase the number of sessions offered and the number of students enrolled.

The Correctional Service of Canada has announced plans to expand a program that allows offenders at Manitoba’s Stony Mountain Institution to pursue an education while serving their sentences.

Since 2014, Walls to Bridges has been taking place in Winnipeg.

Inmates join them to learn together as it gathers professors and students from post-secondary universities across Canada inside the jail gates.

Before serving their prison sentences, several currently incarcerated participants struggled to attain post-secondary education because of social hurdles and past traumas like the residential school system.

Also read: Tamara Lich, was detained in Alberta for allegedly violating her bail conditions

Even though he is currently incarcerated at Stony Mountain, 31-year-old Larry Duck stated, “I believe it’s my job to tear down those barriers and change my life even if I am where I am today.” Larry Duck recently finished the 12-week program.

Through the University of Winnipeg, the program is provided in Manitoba and is based on the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program in the United States.

Duck, serving a 15-year term, was assisted by this program in earning legitimate university credit hours so he could continue his study after his release.

To start learning more about our culture, I want to pursue Aboriginal Studies, Duck stated.

Due to COVID-19, the prison’s in-person courses have been suspended; nevertheless, the program at Stony Mountain continued to operate during the pandemic, with a maximum of five inmates participating by phone and video conferencing.

Eight inmates and eight university students would typically attend classes together before the pandemic; Stony Mountain plans to resume this practice in the fall.

The Walls to Bridges program in Winnipeg offers classes in conflict resolution, criminal justice, English, and urban and inner-city studies, according to the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). Additional courses are being planned.

Inmates in Manitoba are given hope for life after prison through an education programme.
Inmates in Manitoba are given hope for life after prison through an education programme. Image from IlmHunt Obituaries

Student bursaries have paid for the program’s operating expenses.

According to CSC, the University of Winnipeg has finished 11 courses at Stony Mountain and plans to expand both the number of sessions provided and the number of students enrolled.

The effort is supported by Sharon Perrault, executive director of the John Howard Society of Manitoba, which assists men in the community and institutions.

It encourages them to think, “Hey, I’m going to be doing something good with my life, but now I also have a support network out there that I’ve connected with before I’m released,” when they eventually leave prison.

It’s a program that, according to Duck, he hopes to use as a springboard to eventually assist in giving back to his community outside the prison walls.

Walls to Bridges was established in Canada in 2011 as a collaboration between Wilfrid Laurier University’s Faculty of Social Work and the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener.

The Women’s Correctional Centre in Manitoba has also hosted classes for the curriculum.

Source: CTV News

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