Best Practices for Building Post-Release Educational Pathways

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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.