Student-Inmates Return to Classroom for Fall Semester

Through “Open Roads,” a partnership between the Alexandria campus of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and the Sheriff’s Office, eligible inmates at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center are able to take college courses taught in the jail by NOVA professors.

Page updated on Nov 4, 2016 at 4:20 PM

2016 Open Roads StudentThis fall eight student-inmates are taking History 122, a three-credit survey course of U.S. history, with Professor Michael Oblinger (below). This is the fourth course Professor Oblinger has taught at the Detention Center, and several of the current students have been in his previous classes. Professor Oblinger has found that the quality of their work meets and often exceeds that of his traditional students on campus, and he has been especially impressed with their papers, as the student-inmates must hand write their papers because they do not have full access to computers or the editing benefits of word processing.

Now in its fifth year, Open Roads has given dozens of Alexandria inmates the opportunity to take college courses which help them improve their critical thinking, their writing and their time-management skills.

Sheriff Dana Lawhorne, who earned his associate degree from NOVA, and Dr. Jim McClellan, Dean of the Liberal Arts Division at the Alexandria campus, are both committed to ensuring that inmates have access to educational opportunities. In addition to the history class this fall, inmates in the Open Roads program have taken courses in English, business communication, psychology, and student development, all standard courses offered in the Virginia community college system.
2016 Open Roads History 122