TIPTONVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) celebrated a historic graduation at the Northwest Correctional Complex (NWCX) this week. For the first time since launching a partnership with Lane College and the Tennessee Higher Education Initiative in 2021, six incarcerated men have earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with the highest honors, summa cum laude.
Family members of the graduates joined TDOC administrators and Lane College staff at the facility to watch as Dr. Logan Hampton, President of Lane College, conferred their degrees.
“This historic graduation affects all Tennesseans,” said TDOC Commissioner Frank Strada. “Research shows that people who participate in educational programs while incarcerated are less likely to return to prison, meaning safer neighborhoods and fewer victims.”
TDOC operates an educational system approved by the Tennessee Department of Education and provides Adult Basic Education, Career and Technical Education, and PostSecondary Education at each facility across the state. Instructors hold valid Tennessee teacher's licenses and work to provide students with education and career training to enhance public safety and reduce recidivism. More than 200 inmates have earned degrees while serving time in a state prison.
“Their success shows us how much can be done when learning, hard work, and community partners join forces to provide incarcerated individuals with the tools to change their lives, families, and communities,” said NWCX Principal Ronnie Lanier.
Lane College is one of more than 10 colleges and universities to partner with TDOC at facilities around the state. Incarcerated men and women now have the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.