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Nueces County facilities offering hundreds of educational programs

A second chance in hopes for a brighter future
Inmate at McKinzie Annex Jail
Posted at 10:31 PM, Jun 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-26 13:39:59-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It's a second chance — hundreds of free educational programs are now being offered to those behind bars in Nueces County.

KRIS 6 News reported back in March that the Nueces County jails received almost 400 tablets.

Tony Coats has been at the McKenzie Annex for almost three month and said he really enjoys the programs that are being offered in the tablets at the jail.

Coats has taken over 60 courses already and said he is really proud of all of his accomplishments.

“It makes me feel good like I can just smile, I smile every time I sit and go through them and just looking(at his certificates),” he said.

Coats said he has been able to learn things that he has been intrigued by since he was little and being able to take these courses really helps a lot.

So far there hasn't been any issues when it comes to sharing the tablets. At the McKenzie Annex jail, there are roughly about 48 inmates assigned to a dorm and 12 tablets in each dorm.

Coats said that all of the inmates have their own screen time and that they even help each other out.

He said that the tablets distract him in thinking about what is happening on the outside world.

“ This is pretty much what I do, some of the days when I am feeling bored I just get on the tablet and try to learn something,” he added.

According to Sheriff JC Hooper, a total of 420 inmates in both the Nueces County jail and the McKenzie Annex are making the most of it.

“It means a lot and I think the final proof will be if inmates that have taken advantage of this here while they were incarcerated if they never come back I think that’s when we will know if this was a success or not," Hooper said.

He added that inmates at the Nueces County facilities have completed a total of 3,484 courses since they first launched the tablets back in March.

He thinks that these tablets are highly beneficial for the inmates but also for the officers that are working at the jails.

Hooper said having the tablets helps out with behavior issues because most inmates want to use them

These courses are approximately two hours long and they offer course options like drug and alcohol abuse, computer skills,chain saw safety, business communications and many more.

The tablets have hundreds of courses that the inmates can choose from and they are absolutely free.

Hooper hopes that the inmates could learn and take the skills and use them once they leave the jail.

Coats said that what inspired him to start was the other inmates and he hopes to change his life around in hopes to stay out of trouble.

“Hopefully try to get my life together and go out there and use these (certificates) to my advantage now that I got them,"Coats said.

He added that he wants the younger generation to know that being in jail is not what is made to be.

"If you have a chance to do better go do that," he said.