"We're always looking for ways to expand our re-entry program," Superintendent Stanley Knight said. "When this opportunity came along, we were very excited."
Knight continued by telling the graduates, "You are pioneers and I'm going to use you like seeds to grow the program. Take what you've learned and impart it to others."
Navigators is a program designed to promote functional literacy through oral learning. Over the course of six months, offenders engage in conversation and are taught Bible stories using hand motions to enhance spiritual memory and development.
The program is facilitated by Navigator instructor Charles Broughton, who recently returned to the U.S. from Africa and South Korea where he taught the program to illiterate individuals residing in villages and in rural areas.
"A seed has been planted. Now, it just needs to be cultivated to make it grow," Broughton told the graduates in his address.
IDOC's Deputy Director of Religious and Volunteer Services Dave Liebel also spoke to the graduates.
"It's rewarding to see you graduate from a program with no time cuts associated, just self-driven," Liebel said. "People will be watching to see if your behavior reflects what you've learned. You can open the door for many others."
Offender Vincent Walton from Indianapolis summarized his experience.