Ozaukee County Jail Literacy Program



Ozaukee County Jail Literacy Program, Inc.
Our Programs (at a glance)

GED & HSED Instruction

The Program offers instruction in Language/Writing, Reading, Math, Social Studies and Science all of which correspond to the various GED tests. Students are given "pretests" at various points during the classroom instruction to assess their strengths and weaknesses, their overall potential for success on the GED tests, and their overall grade-level advancement and improvement.

Students must pass GED tests in each of the areas of instruction to earn their GED. Once a GED is earned, students must complete a credit in each of the following subjects to earn an HSED: health, civics and career awareness.

Life Skills

The Life Skills program provides students with goal setting, critical thinking and decision-making skills. Instructors work individually with students to develop their goals and track their progress in achieving those goals. The Life Skills program also assists students in developing skills crucial for obtaining and maintaining a job (e.g., students undergo mock interviews, job applications, and resume writing with instructors.)

Computer Instruction

OCJLP recognizes that having a working knowledge of computers and basic computer software skills are a necessity in today’s business world, and as such has developed several computer programs designed to give its students basic working knowledge of computers and typical business software applications (e.g., Microsoft Office). An effort is made to make the students more marketable as they search for employment upon release from jail. OCJLP has hired a dedicated instructor responsible for its computer curriculum.

Family Literacy

Each student inmate selects an age-appropriate book to read to his/her child, who is under ten years of age. A board member facilitates the burning of the CD, and then the book and CD are sent to the guardian of the child. A letter of explanation is included along with a return card for comments. 

Financial Literacy

The goal is to teach student inmates strategies for managing their money wisely. The student inmates learn to:

  • Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound) goals
  • Understand needs versus wants, learn how to create a personal financial plan (a budget)
  • Track their spending habits 
  • Evaluate various methods for staying on track with their budget

They also analyze advantages and disadvantages of credit cards, learn how to obtain a credit report and score, and realize how their actions can affect their credit history and score.

Job Readiness

In response to the new WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act), OCJLP has developed additional emphasis on  job readiness and career components in the GED/HSED curricula.  This includes increased digital literacy, workshops from local businesses and post-secondary opportunities, and an expansion of employability and financial literacy skills training. The goal of WIOA is to provide students avenues to employment opportunities, help them retain employment, and help employers hire and retain skilled workers. OCJLP has also begun a pilot program with Workforce Development to assist students who expect to be released soon. A representative from WD counsels students in such things as the job hunting process, assists students with ride vouchers, and links those students who have not finished GED testing with local testing centers.

Art Workshops

Art Workshops are generally held twice a month on Monday afternoons from 1-3pm.  The OCJLP student inmate signs-up the previous Thursday , so that 5-6 student inmates can be called to participate.  The goals include: creating a safe environment for creativity & expression without criticism, instruction on basic, elements of art & design, fostering visual literacy and fostering conversation and awareness of art history.

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Our Results

We are pleased to report numerous successes of the Program over the last 25 plus years!

  • Since 1992, 329 on-site students have graduated from this Program. Over 1000 student inmates have taken the classes with many finishing at area technical schools after release.

  • The majority of students who participated in the Program advanced at least one grade level (even if they were not in the Program long enough to earn their GED/HSED).

  • A recent study shows that our recidivism rate is 44% while the national average is 70-75%. The annual cost of incarceration for an individual is nearly $30,000/year.

OCJLP Presentations

The OCJLP Board welcomes the opportunity to speak to groups and organizations that are interested in supporting this vital educational initiative. The Program relies on grants and private donations to achieve its goals. The OCJLP does not receive money from the Ozaukee County budget.

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