Many criminals unfortunately start at a young age. They are impressionable and can be easily manipulated. Many start in high school and end up dropping out, moving towards a life of crime as a way to survive because that's all they know. Often times in prison, they are introduced to other criminals and continue in the life once released because it's all they've ever know.

Two years ago, Winnebago County Sheriff's Office introduced tablets to the inmates that would offer courses to help them earn certificates while in jail so once released they would have the job skills needed to leave that life behind. Not all take advantage of it but this year 11 inmates did.

On Tuesday, three graduates received their diplomas while wearing their gaps and gowns according to WIFR. It is nice to see them take advantage of the program to learn a skill or even just receive their GED, but now its up to the community to give them a chance.

When it comes to applying for a job, that little box that asks if you've ever been convicted of a felony can be worrisome for ex-felons. They've done their time, repaid a debt to society, and sometimes got the wake up call they desperately needed to turn their lives around. Unfortunately that little box can often deter them for applying for a position or get their resume looked over. I hope the 11 inmates who took advantage of the program get opportunities to turn their lives around, I also hope someone gives them a chance to.

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