Georgetown University will offer bachelor’s degrees to about 25 people currently incarcerated in a Maryland prison. According to a report by The Hill, the university is building upon its Prison Scholars Program after receiving a $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Since the program was started in 2018 in response to incarceration and recidivism, more than 150 students at the Washington, D.C. prison have taken no-credit classes.The three-year grant will permit the students in the program to start earning credits towards a degree.
Students can choose from three majors, cultural humanities, interdisciplinary social sciences, or global intellectual history with courses taught by Georgetown professors, according to a press release made by the university on Tuesday (April 7).
“We are excited to build upon the success of the Prison Scholars Program and provide an opportunity for students to earn a college degree while incarcerated,” Georgetown Prisons and Justice Initiative Director Marc Howard said. “A degree from Georgetown and the interdisciplinary coursework behind it will prepare our graduate to reenter their communities and the workforce with pride in their academic achievements.”
According to a report by Northwestern University, earning an education while in prison can help reduce recidivism by improving employment opportunities for those being released. One study cited in the report also found that investment in prison education reduces crime more than an investment in incarceration.
Georgetown’s bachelor’s degree program will be taught at the Patuxent Institute, a maximum-security facility located in Jessup, Maryland. Due to COVID-19, classes will be taught virtually.
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