Eastern Oregon Youth Correctional Facility celebrated six students this month who earned their high school diplomas.
Monroe School, located inside the facility and run by the Harney County School District 3, held a small graduation ceremony on March 11 to honor the students’ accomplishments.
March isn’t the typical time people think about graduation ceremonies, but Monroe is not a typical school — all the students are in Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) custody.
Because the students may leave custody before the traditional commencement time, the school holds more frequent ceremonies so they can celebrate their accomplishments before they leave.
“Here at Monroe, I really believe in giving students their ‘rock star moment,’ so we have a graduation at the end of each school quarter,” Monroe principal Brandi Fulton says. “This ensures students get their moment and it resembles a traditional graduation as much as possible.”
Education is an important part of rehabilitation for the youth at the Eastern facility. All youth at OYA are required to work toward their GED or high school diploma.
The facility also offers a wide range of vocational training programs, including automotive, woodshop, and welding, to name a few.
Research from the Rand Corporation shows that incarcerated people who participate in educational programs while in custody are 43% less likely to be arrested for another crime than those who do not.