Dougherty County jail inmates first to receive their GED

Joshua Melton and Talemicus Nix are the first students to graduate from the Dougherty County GED program with their diploma. / Jessica Fairley

Two Dougherty County Jail inmates are celebrating after being the first to cross what jail officials call a major milestone.

When Joshua Melton and Talemicus Nix entered the Dougherty County Jail they say they had no idea that they'd leave with an educational accomplishment.

Over a year ago Talemicus Nix found himself behind bars, accused of being a major supplier of illegal narcotics. Charges against him included possession of crack and powdered cocaine.

"Bad decision, a lot of life altering behaviors to land myself in a position like this," says Talemicus Nix, a GED recipient at the Dougherty County Jail.

For Joshua Melton it was parole violation that landed him back behind bars.

"One of the reasons that a lot of inmates come back to jail or get arrested in the first place is because they have no education," says Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul.

Officials with the jail say they don't want the facility to be a warehouse for inmates. They say they want each prisoner to make a difference in his life.

"You can see the result of what we're trying to do to help those who are undereducated. We've partnered with Albany Technical College to come in and teach these GED courses and get these folks ready for the test," says Dougherty County Jail Director John Ostrander.

After months in jail, Melton and Nix were given the chance to change their path. Both men hit the books, studying together and helping each other through classes.

"There are some special people in some special places. They are more adamant about us getting the education almost than we are," says Talemicus Nix.

Now that both men have received their GEDs, they say there's no reason why they shouldn't stay on the right path.

"I plan to go into the army but either way if that doesn't work out, I plan to go to college to get my business degree," says Joshua Melton, a GED recipient.

While Talemicus Nix is elated to earn the honor, he says most important is the effect that this accomplishment will have on his family.

"I have a son in the ninth grade and I'm very proud to have my GED before he graduated and that's a plus for me," says Nix.

After receiving his GED, Joshua Melton was released from jail.

Officials are hoping other inmates see the story of Talemicus Nix and Joshua Melton as inspiration to follow in their footsteps and get their GEDs.

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