Prison debate team fells an intellectual giant

It’s not all that often we get the chance to post a strictly “feel good” article on here, so when one comes along I’m going to jump on it. This past week Harvard University’s renowned debating team fell to a

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The Amazing Results When You Give a Prison Inmate a Liberal Arts Education

By Jerry Adler / Smithsonian Magazine Separated by eight years, a dozen subway stops and a vast socioeconomic distance, Erica Mateo and Max Kenner had one thing in common growing up: They were no one’s candidates for most likely to

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Art Programs for Prisoners

By Mary Plummer / scpr.org  Image courtesy npr.org

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will announce Friday it plans to spend $1 million to restore arts programing for prisoners.

The funding will bring back the Arts in Corrections program, the demise of which KPCC reported on in January, along with makeshift programs that have popped up to try to fill in some of the gaps.

Despite studies showing inmates released from prison were less likely to return if they had participated in the state’s arts classes, the program was eliminated in 2010. It had been a staple in state prisons for 30 years.

“These are skills that inmate artists can take out into the community when they get out,” said Krissi Khokhobashvili, a spokesperson for the state corrections department. She said the goal is to give inmates job skills so they don’t end up back in prison.

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The Goucher Prison Education Program

By Christopher Zoukis

Providing educational access to inmates of two Maryland prisons is the cornerstone of the Goucher Prison Education Program (GPEP).  Faculty from Goucher College provides on-site instruction for inmates of the Maryland Correctional Center for Women and the Maryland Correctional Facility -Jessup.  The coursework is associated with the rigorous standards that the college is well-known for.  Goucher College faculty also provides college preparatory coursework that helps ready inmates for college classes but require some secondary skills first.  Image courtesy www.mdwsn.com

The Partnership

GPEP is a small initiative as far as prison education programs go; however, even with its sixty students, the program has big potential for changing lives and reducing recidivism.  Moreover, by working with a small population, the college may better be able to refine the program.  If it can be shown to be successful, it has the potential to be a model for other prison education programs and may even be expanded.  The partnership between the prison and the college demonstrates that there is acknowledgement for this segment of the community at large and that there is a need to promote education as a vehicle for change. 

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