SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Ten inmates from the Department of Corrections graduated from a new fiber optics vocational program on Friday afternoon. 

The program is intended to give inmates a better chance at in-demand jobs upon release, said Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator, adding it is part of Caddo Correctional Center (CCC) Northwest Regional Re-entry program.

“Try to help people as they get ready to re-enter society as they get ready to get out the door. They’ll have some self-esteem; they’ll have some skills,” says Prator.

Alex Boone, the fiber optics instructor, says he is very proud of the graduating class.

“These guys set the bar really, really high. The passing rate, their test scores. They did it right so our hats off to them,” he says. 

Inmates completed the Certified Premises Cabling Technician curriculum and the Certified Fiber Optic Technician curriculum offered through Bossier Parish Community College. The Fiber Optic Association (FOA) is the governing body for the credentials.

The program uses classroom lecture and hands-on lab exercises to teach about applications, installations, and communication systems related to fiber optics.

The Caddo Sheriff`s Office will continue to offer the program to DOC inmates, making it the first on-going fiber optics program offered in a correctional facility nationwide.

Derrick Clark, an inmate,  says they completed his curriculum in just one month. 

“I graduated. It was hard. It was hard, but I graduated, and I put my hard work in, and it showed off,” he says.