Walking with pride: Graduation Day for Harris County Sheriff’s Department Detention Center inmates

HOUSTON - Whoever said ‘you only do two days in jail - the day you go in, and the day you get out,” never met Pablo Reyes.

“Instead of sitting in a dorm 24 hours a day, seven days a week doing nothing, I decided to apply myself and do something different,” Reyes said. He’s still awaiting his next reset date for a possession of controlled substance charge.

Wednesday was the culmination of countless hours of hard work -- and graduation day for Pablo and 79 of his fellow incarcerated brethren in the Harris County Sheriff’s Department Detention Facility.

It's part of a program that partners up with Houston Community College, and is funded through HCC and Harris County Commissary funds.

“The certificates that the young people are receiving today are all occupation high demand driven. We have everything from computing all the way to OSHA and warehousing, which is in logistics," said Terry Kidd, Dean of Division of Extended Learning. "When they walk out of here they have some tangible skills and certificates to show. These are the skills that I’ve gained, and here’s the level I’m able to perform them."

The program is an effort to reduce re-offending, and return trips into the system.

“These are pretrial detainees, they haven’t been convicted yet, so if we can get them some marketable skills they could go out there, help our workforce and get integrated back into society,” said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.

“It gives you the experience and the knowledge that you can take to the workplace and you don’t have to go back to the streets to sell drugs or commit crimes to make money. It’s awesome,” said Reyes.

These guys might be doing time, but so far, it’s time well spent.

Congratulations graduates!