Iowa prisoners receive diplomas - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa prisoners receive diplomas


Ethan Smith has been waiting a long time to have something to smile about.

"There's a whole other life out there," said Smith. 

Smith says he regrets his decision to drop out of high school when life got tough.

"I had some bad things going on in my life, and school kind of went to the back burner."

That led to an alcohol addiction and his life then spiraled out of control.

"That stuff ruled my life. I lost my wife, I lost my house."

Those decisions landed him a spot in prison at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville.

For the first time in a long time Smith feels like he's taking a step in the right direction.

"This is the biggest step right here. It shows me there's enough left up there," said Smith.  

Smith was among a group of 18 inmates receiving their high school diploma Tuesday.
The result of many hours of hard work with a tutor all while serving time in prison.

"It's up to the student, where they are, their skill ability, and how much work they need to do," said Brenda Hampton, IMCC Education Coordinator.

The program run by Kirkwood Community College helps create new possibilities for criminals when they get out of prison.

"It proves to them they can be successful at something, and one success can lead to many more," Hampton said.

Smith will be out on work release in the coming weeks.  With his new foundation he hopes to continue his education and pursue a career in science.

"I'll try to make the next 20 years count," said Smith.



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