SAN MARCOS — In early 2019 at the Vista Detention Facility, Edgar Diaz took his first Palomar College class behind bars as part of an incentive-based program for good behavior.

“I had a lot of time to think about my mistakes,” Diaz recalled. “More than anything, there was a lot of time to think about what changes I needed to make to be successful and change my life once I got out.”

To be eligible for incentive-based housing at the Vista jail, inmates must agree to an educational program that includes extracurricular activities like yoga, parenting and anger management, as well as courses provided by Palomar College.

“I didn’t think twice, you know? I took every course they offered, from the very first time that I was invited to take a class,” said Diaz.

Nora Kenney, Ph.D, Palomar College’s Transitions Coordinator, said that Diaz’s story underscores the importance of reaching the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated with opportunities to participate in higher education.

“Edgar is a smart, hard-working student, and has been since he started taking Palomar College classes in the Vista Detention Facility,” said Kenney. “Like many of our Transitions students, Edgar got a serious head-start on his college course work because he was able to earn credits during incarceration.”