CANAAN TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Some inmates at the state prison near Waymart donned caps and gowns for a graduation ceremony inside prison walls.
For some, this graduation ceremony was a long time in the making.
The inmates used their time behind bars to set themselves up for a brighter future once they leave prison.
One by one, inmates received their diplomas after completing courses at SCI Waymart.
We weren't allowed to show the graduates' faces, but we spoke with one inmate who hoped to make his family proud.
"It means a lot to me because family is very important when you are trying to transition into a new life, so having the support system, it means a whole lot. It builds confidence and does a lot," said an inmate named Marcus.
More than 50 inmates received their diplomas or certificates for trades like carpentry or culinary.
Brian Corson who served time behind bars at SCI Waymart years ago delivered the commencement speech.
"It is a mix of emotions. It is exciting, and I am a little nervous coming back, being able to have that closure and to come back and share my experience, strength, and hope," said Corson.
Since earning his associate's degree at SCI Waymart, Corson furthered his education and now works with individuals dealing with addiction in the Philadelphia area.
"There is a lot of stigma around addiction or being incarcerated, and when we get out of these places, there are a lot of challenges and boundaries and getting a second chance can go a long way," Corson added.
For those graduating, the diploma is a symbol for a second chance.
"It is very important. I would like to start my own business when I leave here," said one graduate.
"It is a new step in the right direction and a better future, hopefully," said another.
Prison officials tell Newswatch 16 SCI Waymart is a "house of corrections, not a house of punishment" and giving the inmates a chance to learn and grow will make sure they do not return to prison.