Wesleyan University has developed a program that will allow male prisoners in a Connecticut penitentiary to gain college credit. The college-in-prison program is accredited, allowing faculty and students from the college to teach for-credit courses to inmates. Wesleyan students are also running a program at a local women’s prison. However, this program is not yet accredited, and consists of workshops rather than college classes. The hope is that the accredited program will be expanded to the women’s prison in the future. Wesleyan faculty and students hope that this will provide an example to other schools to follow suit.
What a really great program! In Alabama, it is estimated that 1/2 of female prisoners do not have a GED, most averaging around a 10th grade education. Though there are programs in place that allow inmates to receive their GED, there are no programs that allow any further scholarly education.
Allowing inmates to take accredited college courses has the potential to really raise their level of efficacy. Once these prisoners are released, they have the tools to do much more than they could have without further education. It could also give a sense of empowerment, as they have the opportunity to study topics, readings, etc. that they would not have had access to otherwise.
One of AWRN’s goals is to help women form reentry plans that will enable them to immerse themselves in the community, in hopes that they will not fall into the same habits that got them arrested in the first place. Programs like these would definitely give inmates a great opportunity to get involved in the betterment of the community and themselves.
To read this entire article, click here.