The Oregon Department of Corrections is weighing ending its connections to community colleges across the state and proposing to move its education program in-house because of a budget shortfall.

The DOC currently contracts with six community colleges in Oregon to provide high school diploma equivalency services to inmates across its 14 facilities.

Department of Corrections communications manager Jennifer Black told Oregon Public Broadcasting that DOC is proposing the contracts be phased out and the agency hire back those positions as part of the DOC permanent budget going forward.

She said nearly 1,000 inmates were enrolled in the Adult Basic Skill Development program as of Sept. 30.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, contractors were unable to enter the institutions and ABS (Adult Basic Skills) programming could not

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