Aiken Co. jail targets repeat offenders with GED program

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, March 19, 2013

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- Ed Wilson of Georgia-Carolina Bail Bonds knows the importance of an education.

"I didn't have the opportunity to finish school,” he said. “I went back to high school after I joined the Army."

After his service, he got a GED, which led to a two two-year degrees, a bachelor's in criminology and binders full of law enforcement training.

The bondsman, who served as Sardis' police chief in the 90s, had turned his life around with a GED.

"It really sparked me, and now, I just can't get enough training,” Wilson said.

Now, that same philosophy is taking a stronghold just down the street at the Aiken County Detention Center.

"And I think it's really a self-confidence boost,” said Capt. Nick Gallam, administrator of ACDC.

Capt. Gallam says eight of his inmates just passed the GED test, and it’s a test that could change their lives.

"I had one guy that, you know, he actually did really well on the GED test, and he said, 'I knew I could do it.' He said, 'I just never would do it when I was on the streets,'" Gallam told News 12.

Right now, the jail sees some frequent flyers.

Gallam said he hopes this could make a dent in that, which would mean a safer community and smaller bill for taxpayers, he said.

"Well, I think it's a win-win for the community as a whole,” Gallam said.

Wilson likes the idea, too.

"Hopefully, they'll get out here, get a job and help the community out and the citizens in the community,” he said.

The detention center is partnered with the Aiken County Adult Education program to make this program possible. Inmates have to show initiative by attending regular classes before they get a chance to take the test. Gallam says he hopes to continue this program in the future.

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