Graduating while in Prison: Georgia State University’s Prison Education Project Makes Strides
Caps and gowns are becoming a common sight across Georgia as graduation season is in full swing.
Among the sea of graduates, there is a group of individuals who have accomplished something extraordinary during their time behind bars – they have obtained college degrees.
The first class of students to achieve this remarkable feat comes from Georgia State University’s Perimeter College, and their success is a testament to the power of hard work and determination.
Georgia State University’s Prison Education Project has been instrumental in providing educational opportunities for incarcerated individuals.
The project’s director, Rodriguez, himself a former inmate, understands firsthand the transformative potential of education in prison.
He believes that this initiative breaks down stereotypes and sheds light on the possibilities available to incarcerated individuals.
This month, nine students at Walker State Prison in northwest Georgia proudly received their associate’s degrees.
The coursework was completed within the prison facility and taught by faculty members from Perimeter College.
The program, which began in 2016, intervenes at the point of incarceration to offer access to education, empowering inmates to become productive members of society upon their release.
The success of the program is evident in the achievements of its graduates.
All nine individuals maintained a GPA of at least 3.7, showcasing their dedication and commitment to their studies.
The impact of education extends far beyond the prison walls.
Graduates gain valuable skills and knowledge that will aid them in overcoming the challenges of reentry into society.
Rodriguez has ambitious goals for the future of the program.
By 2025, he aims to expand the initiative to five more prisons in the state of Georgia and encourages other universities to launch similar programs.
He firmly believes that education can play a vital role in reducing incarceration rates, as well as the number of individuals on probation and parole.
The Prison Education Project has already made significant progress, with approximately 50 more students in the pipeline.
By offering educational opportunities, it seeks to break the cycle of recidivism and provide inmates with a chance for a brighter future.
Graduation day serves as a proud moment for these individuals, highlighting their resilience, determination, and the transformative power of education.
As caps and gowns adorn the halls of Georgia’s correctional facilities, it becomes clear that education holds the key to unlocking the potential of those who have found themselves behind bars.
The efforts of Georgia State University’s Prison Education Project demonstrate that with the right opportunities and support, individuals can defy expectations and achieve greatness, no matter their circumstances.