Adams State's Prison College Program has positive results

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While serving time at Canon Minimum Security in Canon City, Daniel Grenemyer earned an associates degree from Adams State College. He is the second graduate from Adam State's new Prison College Program.

Grenemyer's graduated with a degree in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on allied health and health promotion. "I started taking classes to attempt to finish my bachelor's degree while I was incarcerated," Grenemyer said.

Walter Roybal, an advisor and recruiter manager for Extended Studies, said the program has a positive impact on the inmates' life. "The program keeps convicted felons from being repeat offenders and allows them to transition back into society," he said. "It is good for the individual, and society as a whole, by allowing the individual to transition back into a positive lifestyle."

The Colorado Youthful Offender Postsecondary Program (CYOPP) grant funds the program, which is available to offenders 25 years or younger with less then five years left on their sentence. "The grant targets inmates that are young and are realistically going to be released," Roybal said.

Jim Bullington, coordinator of Adams State College Prison College Program, suggested Grenemyer take classes through Adams State. The program has two different types of courses. The general education classes are held in the G.E.D classroom at the prison and a professor from Adams State travels to the prison to teach. The inmates can also take independent study classes.

"The courses through independent study were more challenging. I actually learned more because I put in more effort," Grenemyer said

Grenemyer took a business statistics course taught by Carl Coolbaugh, Adams State assistant professor of accounting. Grenemyer said: "Carl Coolbaugh was superb. He gave me wonderful help and was extremely congratulatory. I scored a 97.25 percent in the course; he told me I did so well whenever I got a question wrong he would check his key to make sure he hadn't made a mistake. It was one of the most difficult courses I have ever taken, but Mr. Coolbaugh gave me the confidence to study hard and do well."

Coolbaugh said he appreciated Grenemyer as a student. "His cumulative point total for the course is the highest recorded since I started teaching this course 13 years ago," Coolbaugh said. "He is the only student to have recorded a perfect score on one of the exams. I certainly wish I had more students like him."

"What I enjoyed most was feeling I was doing something positive and building for my future," Grenemyer said. "A memorable moment was receiving my degree from Walter Roybal at a ceremony at Canon Minimum Security."

Grenemyer is currently employed and said future plans include earning an MBA. "I am considering completing a paralegal program and taking an exam to be a certified financial planner."

He said Adams State gave him a purpose while in prison. "The program allowed me to do something positive in prison," Grenemyer said. "I feel a sense of accomplishment and it greatly improved my confidence in getting a quality job."

Roybal said he has seen first hand how the program makes a difference for individuals. "These people are choosing to be productive while incarcerated," he said.

Article by Marni Zable

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