By Sara Belsole
COLUMBUS, GA - "Social status and economic conditions in the community compel people like myself to wind up in the state correctional facility," Marcos Wolfe says.
Wolfe has been serving out his sentence for drug related charges at the Muscogee County Prison for more than a year.
But Tuesday starts a new chapter in his life. He is one of the prison's yearly GED and On the Job Training graduates.
"Thank god for programs like OTJ and GED that give young people like myself the opportunity to take advantage of opportunities available to us," Wolfe says.
This year more than 30 inmates graduated from On the Job Training and 14 from the GED Program.
Both of the programs are voluntary and Prison Warden Dwight Hamrick says only the inmates who are serious about the programs graduate.
"A lot of guys come in with no skills, they have no work ethic and they decide really to do something positive with the time I've got," Hamrick says.
Torrey Farrell Harris also did something positive with his time. He earned his GED after working towards it for the past few months.
"It's a key to open up many doors," Harris says.
Hamrick says he hopes those doors do not lead back to prison. He says there is a correlation between these types of programs and lower recidivism rates.
"These guys take a lot of pride in completing something and they haven't had an opportunity to do something like that in the past," Hamrick says.
While Wolfe and Harris still have some time before they are released, they say their futures are bright.
"I want to run a business where I have a conglomerate of businesses. I want to own a food business, a fitness business, a entertainment business," Wolfe says.
"When I go to apply to whatever college I want to go to, they will probably retest me. So I want to be prepared and keep advancing," Harris says.
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