PUTNAMVILLE -- Putnamville Correctional Facility Superintendent Stanley Knight announced 47 offenders graduated from the facility's Purposeful Living Units Serve (PLUS) program Thursday.
The commencement took place Thursday at the facility. Family and friends of the graduates were allowed to attend. They enjoyed refreshments before and after the ceremony.
Indiana Department of Correction Commissioner Bruce Lemmon was the guest speaker.
Putnamville's first PLUS dorm, a faith and character based unit, opened in 2006 with 156 offenders. In January 2011, the facility has increased the number of PLUS participants to 311 offenders. Two graduations take place each year, one in February and the other in July. Since 2006, approximately 240 participants have successfully completed the program.
In order to participate in the program, an offender must meet certain criteria. The individual has to have 24 or more months remaining on their sentence, no discipline for four-six months, and have an eighth-grade reading level. Once they meet the criteria, the offender is called for an interview where the PLUS rules are explained.
The PLUS program last anywhere from 12-18 months. There are 11 core classes, eight electives and 390 hours of community service that the offender must complete in order to graduate. All of these classes are taught by graduates of the PLUS program. Some previous PLUS graduates have also volunteered to tutor GED classes.
The facility is continuously looking for volunteers who are willing to come teach the classes. Currently, Putnamville has five mentors from the community who visit the dorms and speak with the participants once a week.
The PLUS program is completely self-funded, generally through offender fundraisers. From the money raised from a fundraiser, the PLUS participants donate 50 percent to the community.
"Our dedicated staff and the participants of the Putnamville PLUS Program are striving together to make the PLUS Program the best in the state of Indiana," Knight said.