Fifteen inmates learned skills that would give them a biting chance when they get released. Pamlico Correctional Institution graduated it's first class in a dental technology program on Tuesday.
Anthony Florence, assistant superintendent of programs for the prison, said it was the second apprenticeship program at the facility. The first was an upholstery program, which is on-going.
The program was provided by Pamlico Community College and endorsed by the N.C. Department of Labor.
During Tuesday's ceremony, the graduates and family members heard from Audrey Jarrell, a graduate of a similar program through Durham Tech. Despite having 53 felonies, Jarrell became the manager of a Digital Dentistry manufacturing department in Caldwell County.
"The class has been awesome," said K. Nicodemus, the program instructor. "They've been a great experience to teach. It's been very rewarding. Challenging... but rewarding."
Niccodemus said the program taught inmates how to be a dental technician so they could get a job once released.
"We learned a lot of different things about dentistry," said Alan Hall, an inmate originally from Asheville.
Hall added that the program covered dentures, partials and the techniques used in their production. "I'm ready to move on to the next stage," he said.
Hall may get his chance in a few months.
Florence told NewsChannel 12 there would be another program starting in January and an advanced program in the summer for graduates of the fall and spring classes.
Niccodemus said this was her first time teaching in a prison.
"It's a great opportunity, it's a great experience and I wish more prisons would do that," she said.