Inmates Don Cap And Gown

Jun 7, 2013

Graduate Daniel Montoya addressing fellow inmates.
Credit Chris Cozzone

Buried deep within the labyrinth of what is Bernalillo County's Metropolitan Detention Center is a small classroom. The pupil's are inmates of all ages. Today three of them graduated. 

Alan Pereya says never in his wildest dreams did he think he or his fellow pod-mates would ever earn a diploma. "We would have never thought that we would be wearing a cap and gown, who knew that you would graduate high school in jail?"

The graduates say that todays accomplishment is just a stepping stone, and that once they get released, they would like to go to college. "I didn't even know that jail had a school in here," says Pereya. "That's what gave me the biggest surprise, is just being here and actually knowing that you could get a high school diploma, has taught me a lot to mature, to grow, that's why I hope that more inmates would go to this school."

To participate in the program, you must be drug-free, with no recent disciplinary action or visits to the psych facility.