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PACEs in the Criminal Justice System

Discussion and sharing of resources in working with clients involved in the criminal justice system and how screening for and treating ACEs will lead to successful re-entry of prisoners into the communityΒ and reduced recidivism forΒ former offenders.

Inmates in California prison can exit with a better chance of success due to first college behind bars (upworthy.com)

 

Prison is supposed to serve two purposes: punishment and rehabilitation. But often prisoners emerge with the skills to be a better criminal and little knowledge on how to live an improved life. A prison in California is hoping to change the revolving door effect for some inmates by being the first to have a fully accredited junior college behind bars.

At Mount Tamalpais College at San Quentin State Prison inmates can earn an Associate of Arts degree by taking classes in literature, American government, astronomy and precalculus. The college was named after the mountain next to the prison and was accredited in January after a commission determined the extension program at the prison was providing a high-quality education. The college can accommodate up to 300 prisoners, and is currently full with another 200 on the waiting list.

The college is privately funded by donations and includes paid staff and volunteer faculty members, many of whom are graduate students from Stanford and the University of California Berkeley. The annual budget to run the college is $5 million. This isn’t the first program of its kind at the prison, though it is the first one to be fully accredited. In 1996, there was a program eventually titled Prison University Project that also offered associate degrees. President Jody Lewen started the process to have the college run fully autonomously three years ago after the previous university closed and the partnership ended.

To read more of Jacalyn Wetzel's article, please click here.

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