LANCASTER – The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is awarding a $750,000 grant in support of a bachelor’s degree program for incarcerated inmates at the California State Prison in Lancaster.
“The Mellon Foundation believes in each and every student’s humanity and sees expanding access to higher education in prison as a public good,” said Mellon Foundation President Elizabeth Alexander.
Cal State LA is the only university in the state that offers an in-person bachelor’s degree program for incarcerated students — at its Lancaster campus at California State Prison, located at 44750 60th Street West. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation identifies students considered suitable for the program and transfers them to the Lancaster correctional facility, where they take courses toward a BA degree in communication studies. Following release, Cal State’s chapter of Project Rebound facilitates students’ transition with academic and personal support services. Read more about the Lancaster Prison Program here.
The Lancaster Prison Program through Cal State LA is one of four prison education and re-entry programs across the country that will receive funding from the Mellon Foundation, which announced a total of $3.3 million in grants.
Grants will also be awarded to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to support the expansion of educational and reentry initiatives for current and formerly incarcerated students at Otisville Correctional Facility in New York; to Marymount Manhattan College to support AA and BA degree-granting programs at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women; and to the Alliance for Higher Education in Prison to support a national prison education network that gathers, analyzes, and shares data, research, pedagogical practices, and training.
“We know that higher-education-in-prison programs reduce violence inside prisons, improve incarcerated students’ ties with family and community in advance of parole, reduce rates of recidivism, and interrupt the cycle of intergenerational poverty,”said Mellon Foundation Senior Program Officer Eugene M. Tobin. “College-in-prison programs represent values that should be at the heart of a democratic society.”
Since 2015 alone, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has dedicated nearly $18 million to prison education and re-entry programs. For more information, visit https://mellon.org/.
[Information via news release from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.]