First students graduate from Inside-Out program with Roanoke Sheriff’s Office

ROANOKE, Va. – It was an exciting day for students and inmates at Roanoke City Jail.

The first graduating class from Roanoke College’s new program called Inside Out held a ceremony earlier this afternoon. Eight students and eight inmates took a class together studying a class called Stigmas and Society over the course of nine weeks.

Michael Perdue, who is currently in Roanoke City Jail said it feels great to have completed the course.

“My main thing is I just hope that the kids from the college take something away from this. I hope that spending time with us and working together as a class I hope that it impacts their life positively in some way.”

Perdue also said this class taught him a lot about how to handle negativity in society.

“I am currently incarcerated so it’s like the class, for me, did teach me about the negativity in society, the stigmas that will placed on me as an inmate or a returning citizen but I hope that the class will impact the kids so that somewhere in the future they can have an impact on society,” said Perdue.

The program was inspired by a similar program in Roanoke County. However, this is the first graduating class for the Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office.

“What I always tell the members of our society and our community is how do you want me to return people back out in your community, broken the way we found them or better so they can be returning citizens and be more productive as a citizen going back out in society,” said Roanoke City Sheriff Antonio Hash.

Hash said he hopes they can hold another class next year.

“Hopefully in the next quarter next year we will start another program for those who are interested in moving forward with the program,” said Hash.

About the Author

Keshia Lynn is a Multimedia Journalist for WSLS. She was born and raised in Maryland and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Society from American University and a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.

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