Graduating Behind Bars Provides New Path For Santa Rita Inmate

Tim Ryan
May 25, 2020 - 7:03 pm

    Much has been said about the changing nature of high school graduations during this coronavirus pandemic, but graduation at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin is even more unusual. It’s a tough way to get a high school degree, alone in jail, with the diploma just a photocopy. 

    That is the story of 27 year od Tiara Arnold, serving a life term for a double murder in Oakland ten years ago. She’s in the Santa Rita Jail awaiting a re-trial, and now has her G.E.D.

    “I can finish, I have finished before, so I can finish now,” said Arnold, “that really has helped my self-esteem in so many different ways, and showed me a lot of different qualities about myself.”

    Lillian Stables is Principal with the Five Keys Program, which offers classes twenty California jails.

    “I think it’s so important, this is the first time a lot of our students believe in themselves and a different pathway for their lives,” said Stables, “it starts with accomplishing something that they didn’t think they could, I hear that story over and over again.”

    Inmates now locked alone in their cells because of the coronavirus, Stables said they hope to conduct a formal ceremony in due time.