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Victoria Scott

Colby Justice Think Tank Criminal Code News

So proud of my Justice Think Tank colleagues Linda Small and Chandler Dugal for their op-ed piece that was published in The Bangor Daily News! Their cowritten article centers on the prong of our Criminal Code group's work that researched record sealing and expungement for formerly incarcerated people and proposed an implementation strategy for the State of Maine!

https://www.bangordailynews.com/2024/02/20/opinion/opinion-contributor/criminal-record-forgiveness-second-chance-joam40zk0w/

Victoria Scott

MIT: Writing the Code, Second Chance Hiring

MIT is holding an event to gather professors, students, policy makers, and members of the business community to discuss equitable hiring practices and the barriers that individuals from marginalized communities face in socioeconomic, professional arenas. This event is to discuss and improve public support for second chance hiring practices for formerly incarcerated individuals and will be featuring the story of Daniel Dart, MIT's first formerly incarcerated student at the Sloan School of Business. 

"MIT Sloan EMBA student, Daniel Dart, EMBA '24, is a leader in Second Chance Hiring and is justice-impacted. We plan to highlight his experience while amplifying the issues related to fair chance hiring and how that impacts our community of industry and academic professionals."

If you're in the Boston area (or even if you're not and want to take a field trip!) this event should be a milestone for the inclusion of formerly incarcerated people in efforts to expand equitable access to opportunity.

Writing the Code: Second Chance Hiring | MIT Sloan

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Grant Opportunity: Pathway Home

The U.S. Department of Labor will be granting $52 million to support projects that advance pre-release job training and apprenticeship programs for incarcerated individuals.

These Pathway Home grants will be awarded to projects that provide incarcerated individuals with legal assistance, counseling, job search strategies and other foundational skills prior to release. These grants – ranging from $1 million to $4 million to each recipient – demonstrate the value of initiatives like Education in Action that close the gaps between higher education in prison and employment opportunities.

Learn more about how to apply and share this reentry opportunity with your networks: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20240208-0

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Alliance for Higher Education in Prison x Colby College Justice Think Tank

In 2023, the Alliance for Higher Education in Prison supported the Colby College Justice Think Tank, which brought together 12 remarkable scholars from all five Maine prisons to explore restorative justice alternatives. Their research, aimed at reforming Maine's legal system for emerging adults, has culminated in impactful policy papers and public presentations. Dive into the minds of these brilliant scholars and explore the pathways they've proposed for a more restorative future. 

 

Check them out here: https://www.colby.edu/academics/departments-and-programs/colby-across-the-walls/justice-think-tank/

Victoria Scott

CUMU Call for Manuscripts

With a submission deadline of May 1, 2024, The Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities is soliciting manuscripts for their journal on the role of higher education in prison and returning citizens on campuses and communities. The purpose of this issue's theme is to gain insight into how higher education institutions address prison education, transition, and reentry for incarcerated students.

The topic suggestions for content are fairly broad, but all must include evidence-based theories or practice with supportive data.

Call for manuscripts: Exploring the Role of Higher Education in Prison and Returning Citizens on Campuses and Communities

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Colorado becomes one of the first to employ an incarcerated professor

A new initiative at Adams State — one of the first of its kind in the country — focuses on employing incarcerated people with graduate degrees as college professors, rather than bringing in instructors from the outside. The program offered through the Alamosa-based university gives incarcerated graduates experience and training while helping to alleviate the staff shortages that can hinder prison education programs. https://www.chalkbeat.org/colorado/2024/01/04/incarcerated-professor-teaches-college-classes-in-prison/ 

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SUNY Road Map to Starting a College-in-Prison (CIP) Program

If your State University of New York (SUNY) campus is interested in finding ways to serve justice-involved students in your community, the following
information may help you in planning and navigating critical conversations. We know everyone's path is different and some of these activities may occur simultaneously and/or on an ongoing basis.

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Access, Success, and Challenges in College-In-Prison Programs within The State University of New York

This report from the State University of New York (SUNY) Higher Education for the Justice-Involved (HEJI) program links administrative data collected by SUNY and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) between 2010 and 2020 to reveal student engagement and outcomes in SUNY-involved college-in-prison programs.

This report is one part of a SUNY initiative to expand and improve its services to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people in New York. With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, SUNY System Administration is working with its campuses to build a supportive community of college-in-prison programs, develop resources to strengthen the programs, ease pathways for formerly incarcerated students to continue
their education, and create a data system that reveals key features of the programs and their performance. 

The research component of the initiative also includes interviews with college administrators, faculty, and formerly incarcerated students to understand how students view college-in-prison programs, the challenges colleges face in implementing their programs, including during the pandemic, and the ways SUNY can better support incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students. Although this report includes references to some interviews, forthcoming reports will offer a more complete summary of those findings.

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SUNY's Vision of Educational Equity for Incarcerated New Yorkers

This document outlines the State University of New York's (SUNY) commitment to educational equity for all incarcerated students in New York State correctional facilities.

"With the reinstatement of Pell and TAP funding, and in collaboration with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) and other identifiable stakeholders, SUNY seeks to increase and expand incarcerated individuals access to quality post-secondary education, both during and after incarceration."

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How an illicit cell phone helped me take college courses from prison

This news article describes the experiences of an incarcerated student using an illicit cell phone to take college courses from prison. The person interviewed is incarcerated in the South and currently works as a hospice volunteer and mentors justice-involved young adults. No identifying information is included in order to protect him from potential consequences for possessing a contraband cell phone.

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Prison Education Faculty Recruitment Toolkit and Training Resource

This toolkit from the State University of New York (SUNY) Higher Education for the Justice-Involved (HEJI) program serves as a guide for administrators in recruiting and training staff for their prison education programs. 

The first goal of this document is to help guide programs through developing, hiring, and training practices that can support quality programming inside the correctional facility. The second goal is to generate a larger conversation about what programs consider to be best practices and how hiring, training, and supporting faculty contribute to the overall goals of building and maintaining quality college-in-prison programming. 

To that end, Part I of this toolkit is designed for program administrators who are developing or overseeing hiring for their college-in-prison program. It outlines the role of the professor in prison settings and identifies the qualities to look for in candidates applying to teach in prison. 

Part II, which was created for both faculty and program administrators, speaks to training for faculty once they’ve been hired and ongoing professional development. It offers a set of best practices for faculty who are considering teaching in prison.  These materials are created with the acknowledgment that programs need to develop their own unique processes and practices conducive to their campus settings and capacities, and thus there should be expected variation.

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Reuters: For the First Time, US Prisoners Graduate from Top University

This article from Reuters announces the graduation of the first class of incarcerated students from Northwestern University's Prison Education Program on November 15, 2023.

"Twenty years ago, some of these guys were in rival gangs, and here they are swapping poetry with each other and giving critical engagements on sociology assignments," said Professor Jennifer Lackey, the program's founding director. "The love and growth that we see in the community is really unlike anything I've experienced at the on-campus commencements."

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Illinois Public Media: Illinois to Report for First Time How Many Prisoners Are Taking College Courses – and How Many Are Waiting for Access

This article from Illinois Public Media covers the passage of the Higher Education in Prison Act in the Illinois legislature. 

The state will now provide annual public data on enrollment, demographics, and waitlists for higher education programs in Illinois prisons.

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California incarcerated students depended on community colleges. What happens when their prisons close?

As California closes three more prisons and downsizes six others, some prisoners aren’t ready to go. They are worried about the future of their education. Newsom is closing and downsizing prisons across the state, putting the future of over a thousand incarcerated students at risk. College administrators say they have few resources to help.

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California incarcerated students depended on community colleges. What happens when their prisons close?

As California closes three more prisons and downsizes six others, some prisoners aren’t ready to go. They are worried about the future of their education. Newsom is closing and downsizing prisons across the state, putting the future of over a thousand incarcerated students at risk. College administrators say they have few resources to help.

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They saw the demise of college in prison. Thirty years later, it’s coming back.

As Pell Grant eligibility returns for people in prison on July 1, College Inside wanted to know what the moment was like when higher education went away almost 30 years ago. They asked four lifers to share their experiences with Pell Grants before 1994, when Congress eliminated access to federal financial aid for incarcerated students, in their own words.

Their stories have been edited for length and clarity.

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Job-hunting isn’t easy, especially after prison. San Quentin is trying to change that.

This news article examines how San Quentin's program, Prison to Employment Connection or P2EC, helps men learn how to put the work they've done inside into context for prospective employers. P2EC is a 14-week job-readiness training program for people who are within one year of a release date or have a scheduled parole board hearing in the next six months. The curriculum includes an assessment to help participants identify possible careers, workshops on identifying strengths and transferable skills, and résumé editing.

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Best Practices for Building Post-Release Educational Pathways

For many people who are incarcerated, postsecondary classes offered by the facility in which they’re serving their sentences represent a first step on an educational journey that is likely to continue after they are released—one that could ultimately lead to an industry-recognized credential, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, or even a master’s degree or a PhD. To facilitate the process of moving from incarceration to on-campus or online classes, colleges and their partners must develop structures and programs that are intentionally designed to support people who are navigating this transition. This brief offers practitioner-informed recommendations from Rutgers University’s New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons (NJ-STEP) initiative, the higher education in prison program at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) in Iowa, and Prison-to-Professionals (P2P) that can help colleges create pathways that honor and support students’ visions for reentering their communities and continuing their educations.  

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Best Practices for Building Post-Release Educational Pathways

For many people who are incarcerated, postsecondary classes offered by the facility in which they’re serving their sentences represent a first step on an educational journey that is likely to continue after they are released—one that could ultimately lead to an industry-recognized credential, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, or even a master’s degree or a PhD. To facilitate the process of moving from incarceration to on-campus or online classes, colleges and their partners must develop structures and programs that are intentionally designed to support people who are navigating this transition. This brief offers practitioner-informed recommendations from Rutgers University’s New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons (NJ-STEP) initiative, the higher education in prison program at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) in Iowa, and Prison-to-Professionals (P2P) that can help colleges create pathways that honor and support students’ visions for reentering their communities and continuing their educations.  

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Understanding Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of students’ education records. The term “education records” means those records that are (1) directly related to a student and (2) maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education (ED).

At the postsecondary level, FERPA affords “eligible students” the right to have access to their education records, the right to seek to have the records amended, and the right to have some control over the disclosure of information from the records.  

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Getting Ready for FAFSA Administration: Steps for Working With Financial Aid and Corrections

Leveraging the return of Pell Grants to create additional opportunities for students in correctional facilities at federally approved Prison Education Programs (PEPs) require close collaboration between the college’s prison program office staff, the correctional agency, and the college’s financial aid department. This resource details some of the initial steps in establishing these critical partnerships and getting ready to administer the FAFSA for incarcerated students as a PEP. Keep in mind that the details may vary depending on state and local context.  

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National Data Sources on Prison Education Programs and Students

Postsecondary institutions can capitalize on existing national data sources to obtain information on prison education programs (PEP) and students. This resource provides a brief overview of the following data sources: 

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)
  • Federal Student Aid (FSA) Data
  • Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) Survey of Incarcerated Adults 
  • Education Justice Tracker (EJT) 
  • National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) 
  • National Directory of Higher Education in Prison Programs 
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National Data Sources on Prison Education Programs and Students

Postsecondary institutions can capitalize on existing national data sources to obtain information on prison education programs (PEP) and students. This resource provides a brief overview of the following data sources: 

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)
  • Federal Student Aid (FSA) Data
  • Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) Survey of Incarcerated Adults 
  • Education Justice Tracker (EJT) 
  • National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) 
  • National Directory of Higher Education in Prison Programs 
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Colleges Can Do More Than Educate Incarcerated People. They Can Hire Them.

This summer, about 700,000 incarcerated people will become eligible for the federal Pell Grant, gaining access to a critical form of college financial aid for the first time in nearly 30 years. When the 1994 Crime Bill banned Pell for imprisoned individuals, the number of higher-education prison programs rapidly dwindled from 1,500 to just eight. With Pell back on the table, institutions are once again designing degree programs for prisoners. But colleges and universities can do more to ensure that the incarcerated are set up for success after their release: they can hire them. 

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Colleges Can Do More Than Educate Incarcerated People. They Can Hire Them.

This summer, about 700,000 incarcerated people will become eligible for the federal Pell Grant, gaining access to a critical form of college financial aid for the first time in nearly 30 years. When the 1994 Crime Bill banned Pell for imprisoned individuals, the number of higher-education prison programs rapidly dwindled from 1,500 to just eight. With Pell back on the table, institutions are once again designing degree programs for prisoners. But colleges and universities can do more to ensure that the incarcerated are set up for success after their release: they can hire them. 

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How this Vietnam vet started a college program at a desert prison

James “Sneaky” White, 80, spent nearly four decades incarcerated in California. His nickname “Sneaky” comes from his days as a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. While he was incarcerated, he helped create a college program that has since graduated more than 1,500 men. At the time, San Quentin was the only other prison in the state where incarcerated people could earn degrees. 

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Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2023

This report from the Prison Policy Initiative offers some much-needed clarity by piecing together the data about this country’s disparate systems of confinement. It provides a detailed look at where and why people are locked up in the U.S., and dispels some modern myths to focus attention on the real drivers of mass incarceration and overlooked issues that call for reform.

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What’s the Difference Between Grants, Scholarships, and Loans?

Scholarships, grants, and loans are some of the many options available to help you pay for your college education. But figuring out how to access and combine them can be overwhelming.

This article will help answer questions like, “How do you qualify for a grant vs. a scholarship?” and “How do you apply for student loans vs. scholarships?” Plus, it'll show you how to apply for scholarships, grants, and loans as well as the best way to put them all together so you can save the most money.