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Broome County jail offers life skills training in partnership with SUNY Broome

Phoebe Taylor-Vuolo
Undersheriff Sam Davis has been instructing the classes as a volunteer.

The Broome County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with SUNY Broome to offer self-management classes at the county jail.

The five-week course draws on material from a textbook by SUNY Broome Professor Gian Roma. The textbook focuses on personal growth and decision making.

The course, which the sheriff’s office said is just a pilot program for now, offers one-hour weekly classes over five weeks. Nearly 60 people in the jail have taken the class so far. The class is offered to both female and male inmates.

“It's our hope and our desire that the exposure to education, the exposure to the courses that we are offering while they're here will excite them and make them consider enrolling as students when they are no longer under the auspices of the Broome County justice system,” SUNY Broome President Tony Hawkins said.

Undersheriff Sam Davis has been instructing the classes as a volunteer. Davis previously taught criminal justice classes at SUNY Broome. He said he intentionally does not wear his uniform when teaching.

“I thought it would be best to make it a little bit more personable,” Davis said. “And I think it worked. I think that [people in the jail] appreciate the fact that I didn't come in as an authority figure.”

Participants will get a certificate at the end of the course. But the sheriff’s office said in the future, there could be room to expand the program, offering more classes or longer courses, and perhaps college credit from SUNY Broome.

“If we can then encourage you, when you get out of here, to go and seek your education, and that started here, we want that,” Sheriff Fred Akshar said. “So while we are in the infancy stages of this program, I think the potential is endless.”