Report: Inmates at Cal City prison were unable to receive GEDs for much of 2019 due to lack of examiners

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CALIFORNIA CITY, Calif. (KGET) — Inmates at the California City Correctional Facility were unable to receive their General Education Diploma for much of last year due to a lack of certified examiners, according to a new report from the Kern County Grand Jury. 

The Grand Jury said during a visit to the prison last fall, they found that inmates at the prison had been unable to take exams to get their GEDs since July 1. GED classes are mandatory at the prison for all inmates who have not completed their high school education. 

“While visiting a GED class, inmates expressed frustration with delays in taking GED examinations,” the report says. “These delays add to inmate frustration. They study and prepare for an exam only to have their test date cancelled. Obtaining a GED is a source of pride and symbolizes a better future.”

The jury said the prison has already taken steps to address this. A new testing coordinator was trained and GED testing resumed around the end of November. 

The Grand Jury recommends that the prison give current teaching staff the chance to become certified as GED examiners as well as continue to recruit and provide training to maintain qualified examiners. 

The jury said the prison should also work toward providing additional portable classrooms to accommodate students. 

During its visit, the Grand Jury also found that inmates were inappropriately discarding condoms by flushing them down the toilet. While the prison allows used condoms to be flushed, the Grand Jury said this should not be allowed because it can be harmful to the environment and could cause toilets to overflow.

“(The) written policy…is contrary to the recommendations of various health organizations and scientists,” the report states. “The importance of eliminating such a policy is not only for the protection of the user and their future contacts but also to protect our waterway and oceans for future generations.”

The jury recommends that the prison revise its policy to instruct inmates to dispose of used condoms by throwing them in a waste receptacle not used for recycling and to educate inmates on the proper use of disposal. 

“Although inmate sex is illegal, its occurrence is a fact that must be addressed for the benefit of the inmates and their future partners,” the Grand Jury said.

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