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Educational program expanding for Arizona inmates

TUCSON, Ariz. The Arizona Department of Corrections is offering recently released inmates classes on such things as substance abuse, developing job skills and following a budget.

Arizona's prison population growth rate has stabilized, so authorities have been able to dedicate additional funding to reduce recidivism.

The Arizona Daily Star (http://bit.ly/YQIF9m) reports that nearly 18 percent of Arizona's 40,000 inmates are enrolled in some sort of an educational program, spending three hours a day in a classroom setting. The department's educational budget for fiscal year 2013 is $18 million.

It covers the tuition, fees, books, equipment and teacher salaries for the 1,500 inmates currently in a mandatory class aimed at ensuring they have at least an eighth-grade education.

There are 2,900 inmates working toward a general equivalency diploma and 2,000 learning a trade.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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