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UCLA Prison Education Program brings college courses to incarcerated individuals

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

UCLA’s Prison Education Program provides education to incarcerated women and young adults by bringing in UCLA faculty and students to learn alongside them. The program was launched in 2015 as the first Californian University to offer certificate in justice studies partnering with UCLA Extension for incarcerated people. The goal is to start a bachelor degree program. Bryonn Bain, one of the program directors, said they launched the program after he talked to incarcerated women who were eager to further their education and have better chances once they get out of prison.

“They wanted to return home with more education instead of less education, to be able to offer something meaningful to their families,” Bain said.

According to a study by Rand Corporation, people who participated in education programs in prison had a 43% lower chance of recidivism. Abel Diaz, one of the students of the program, said that completing the justice studies certificate gave him a stepping stone to earn his bachelor degree after he was released to build a brighter future.

“But beyond that, we want every class that we can bring from UCLA into the correctional facility, to really begin to break down misconceptions and notions of this separation between those who are inside or outside. We want to create opportunities for folks to learn with and from each other inside the prison.” Bain said.

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