Prison to College Pipeline Goes National With New Program - Find Out How You Can Participate
Date:  10-13-2016

The College Achievement in Reentry Technical Assistance Project (CARTAP) is seeking four pilot sites
The following announcement was distributed by College & Community Fellowship.

Each year, thousands of men and women are released from prison, and often return to low-income, low-opportunity communities. In fact, the rates of incarceration have grown so exponentially that almost one in three working-age adults in the US now has a criminal record; that’s just as many people as hold college degrees. Yet according to a special report by the US Department of Justice, only 23% percent of the people in prison in 2003 had their high school diploma, and around only 12% had some sort of post-secondary degree while incarcerated.

One non-profit, College & Community Fellowship, has spent the last sixteen years helping formerly incarcerated women earn their college degrees and transform their lives in the process. Today, CCF has helped hundreds of women earn more than 300 degrees, ranging from Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, even a Ph.D and J.D. CCF students are earning these degrees with graduation rates as high as 93 percent and with a cumulative recidivism rate of under 2 percent.

This model, which focuses on education as a path toward economic stability and long-term self-sufficiency for people with criminal convictions, is the foundation for CCF’s new national technical assistance project. The College Achievement in Reentry Technical Assistance Project (CARTAP, currently accepting Letters of Intent for four pilot sites across the country, will teach reentry organizations, corrections professionals, law enforcement agencies, colleges, ESI sites, and any other organization nationwide the secrets to help someone successfully transition back into society with the help of education. Lack of education is strongly correlated with high incarceration rates. This means that many coming home from prison do not have the resources to find gainful employment or to become economically self-sufficient upon their return. This leads to high rates of recidivism within three years of release, which is as high as 67% nationally. Furthermore, most reentry services focus on short-term solutions like transitional housing and minimum-wage employment; CCF stands out with its long-term approach to reentry.

To strengthen communities devastated by incarceration, CCF believes education must play a key role in prisons and throughout the long process of reentry. CCF’s Academic Support Program provides individual guidance and community support to help formerly incarcerated women successfully earn their degrees.

With CARTAP, CCF will teach other institutions to support criminal justice-involved students as they pursue postsecondary education. It will be available to non-profit organizations working with a large number of criminal justice-involved clients; colleges and universities seeking to provide effective support services for their students with criminal justice histories; or parole and probation offices committed to the societal engagement of their parolees and probationers. It includes hands-on training for staff, training materials, individual consulting, cohort-based assistance, and ongoing technical assistance from CCF staff throughout the implementation of college-oriented programming. Its interactive-technical assistance curriculum will encompass best practices for servicing formerly incarcerated citizens in general, especially for organizations seeking professional development opportunities. This allows agencies the opportunity to broaden their understanding of an under-served population, with the goal of having the newfound skills incorporated into agencies culture and policies.

The program is currently looking for existing higher education organizations, and those looking to offer the opportunity to connect this population to higher education, can strengthen their current program by learning, integrating or replicating components of its core Academic Support program. Those interested should fill out this Letter of Intent and contact CCF’s Associate Director of Technical Assistance Lettisha Boyd at today.