To provide a high-caliber college education to incarcerated men and women, in order both to enrich the lives of those who are systematically denied access to educational opportunities and to enhance Wesleyans academic community.OURMISSION
The Center for Prison Education offers a dynamic approach to democratize access to educational opportunity and reduce rates of re- incarceration, thereby creating healthier and safer communities.OUR VISION
The Center is an initiative of Wesleyan University in collaboration with Connecticut’s Unified School District #1, and a member of the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison at Bard College.WHO WE ARE
In September 2009, the Center enrolled its first class of students—19 men at Cheshire Prison. Over the past two years, these students have pursued a broad curriculum of Wesleyan courses in the humanities and the natural and social sciences. Now in its third year, the Center will double its student population this Fall, and plans to expand to a facility for women by 2012.COLLEGE INPRISON
The Center also provides diverse research and volunteer opportunities for students on Wesleyan’s main campus. Current undergraduates collaborate closely with incarcerated men, women and youth in a range of courses offerings and workshops, and by serving as writing tutors and teaching assistants.SERVICELEARNING
There are more African American men incarcerated thanenrolled in college. At current rates, one in three black men will spend time behind bars. Here in Connecticut – the statewith the highest incarceration rate in the northeast – Latinos are 12 times more likely than whites to be imprisoned, and Blacks are 22 times more likely than whites to be imprisoned.Reflecting nationwide trends, Connecticut’s prisoners come disproportionately from low-income communities and communities of color, demographics that schools like Wesleyan struggle to reach.
Our students are selected solely on the basis of their academic merit. As much as possible, our admissions committees seek to identify creativity, curiosity and intellectual potential independent from prior educational attainment. None of our current students had attended college prior to their arrest, and 60% received high school equivalency while in prison.ADMISSIONSPROCESS
Prisoners who merely participate in postsecondary education are 46% less likely to recidivate than members of the general prison population. Increased education levels correspond to even lower rates: those who leave prison with associates degrees are 62% less likely to return to prison than those with a GED.…FORTAXPAYERS
I am amazed by how the prison’s culture has changed in such a short period of time. The Wesleyan program has done more than offer college accredited courses. I know to some degree the program will be judged by grade point averages, but the true success can be measured in the lives that have already been changed. The education being afforded to a segment of the population cannot be viewed as static – it has had a dynamic effect on the entire population. My classmates and I have undergone a preparatory process which will allow every one of us to contribute in ways that we never imagined. – David Haywood, student…FOR PRISONERS
Corrections officers attest that college-in-prison facilitates improved relations between guards and inmates, promotes successful mentoring relationships among prisoners, reduces racial tension and decreases disciplinary infractions. A study of an Indiana college-in-prison program found that enrollees were 75% less likely to commit infractions.…FORCORRECTIONSOFFICERS
Wesleyan faculty are given an opportunity to have a direct impact on a crucial social issue precisely by doing what they already do best: teach. The University is able to live up to its stated mission of civic engagement, and students are given an exciting array of service-learning opportunities.…FOR WESLEYAN
“When I signed up to participate in the program, I did not imagine that this would end up to be the most profound teaching experience I have ever had. The challenges, the level of engagement, the progress, and the impact: everyaspect of the course was more intense and rewarding than I have ever experienced before.” – Professor Michael McAlear Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT With in-kind support of overhead, office space, and volunteer and staff time provided by Wesleyan University, gifts to the Center directly impact our students. All contributions are tax-deductible. • Adopt a Course: $7,500 provides for a faculty stipend and course books for 19 students. • Sponsor a Student: $3,000 supplies a full scholarship for 1 student for 2 years. • Supply a Computer: $300 will buy one computer in our new Wesleyan IT lab at Cheshire. • Host an Event: Bring friends, family and colleagues together to learn about and support the Center.
Wesleyan Center for Prison Education 167 High Street, first floorContact Middletown CT 06459Alexis Sturdy860.email@example.comTo learn more and to contribute, please visit:www.wesleyan.edu/cpe