Aspiring students who are incarcerated within the Maryland state prison system can now work to get a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University.
The university and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is launching a full bachelor’s degree program for those who are incarcerated.
The Georgetown Prisons and Justice Initiative (PJI) will welcome its first class of about 25 students at the maximum-security Patuxent Institution in Jessup, Maryland.
By leading the initiative, PJI will build upon the Georgetown academic courses they have at the D.C. jail through its Prison Scholars Program.
“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,” said PJI Director Marc Howard.
“A degree from Georgetown and the interdisciplinary coursework behind it will prepare our graduates to reenter their communities and the workforce with pride in their academic achievements.”
Many returning citizens struggle to find employment after their release due to their criminal record, a lack of formal education, and large gaps in resumes, said the PJI in a press release.
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The Georgetown Prisons and Justice Initiative said it will accept applicants from across the state prison system and evaluate them based on preparedness, motivation, and potential to succeed in the program through both admissions exams and interviews.
Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED.
“Our goal is to provide the same rigorous, demanding courses of study inside of the prison that make a Georgetown education world-class. Incarcerated students have repeatedly shown that they can rise to the challenge,” said PJI Director of Education Joshua Miller.
Expanding the Prison Scholars Program is the next step in the university's decades-long history of prison education and outreach, according to Georgetown President John DeGioia.
“As a University, we have a responsibility to advance the common good and empower the members of our community to share in this important work,” DeGioia said.
More than 150 individuals have enrolled in D.C. Jail's Prison Scholars Program, which offers both credit and non-credit classes.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has provided a $1 million three-year grant to support the program's extension into Maryland, which is also sponsored by Georgetown alumnus Damien Dwin.