Oregon community colleges face deadline as state prisons chief moves to take over inmate education

Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario is among the schools that currently contract with the state to teach inmates. (Enterprise file photo)

ONTARIO – Officials at Treasure Valley Community College have just days to convince the state’s prison system to keep an inmate schooling system that has been in place for 20 years.

At stake is a contract to teach inmates that paid the college about $2 million a year and funded 19 college jobs at Snake River Correctional Facility. The college also provides schooling at the Warner Creek Correctional Facility in Lakeview.

The Oregon Department of Corrections is planning to provide the schooling on its own, using agency employees instead of college educators. The agency calculates it can save about $500,000 a year doing so.

The shift would eliminate prison programs not only . . .