Program Website: https://prisonedproject.wustl.edu/
Contacts: Jennifer M. Hudson
Program Manager and Academic Advisor
Washington University Prison Education Project (PEP)
Program Description: The Prison Education Project at Washington University (PEP) provides a high quality liberal arts education to people incarcerated at Missouri Eastern Correctional Center in Pacific, MO, and to prison staff. We aim to demonstrate the productive impact of higher education on incarcerated people, their families, and American society, as well as the continuing relevance of the liberal arts.
Degrees Offered: Our students take classes in history, political science, physics, chemistry, performing arts, comparative literature, psychology, anthropology, American literature, gender studies, English, creative writing, mathematics, economics, Japanese literature and culture, and art history. Almost all courses are concurrently taught on the main Washington University campus. Our students earn credit through University College in Arts and Sciences at Washington University. They are working toward general liberal arts degrees, beginning with the Associate in Arts degree.
Programs Offered: In addition to credited courses, PEP offers visiting lectures, non-credit workshops, a non-credit reading group, and a chess club.
Headquarters: St. Louis, MO
Correctional Facilities Served: 1) Missouri Eastern Correctional Center in Pacific, MO and 2) the Federal Correctional Institution in Greenville, IL.
Population Served: Incarcerated students and staff students.
Number of Students: We currently serve 37 full-time incarcerated students, 15 staff students, and approximately 20 incarcerated reading group members.
Graduates to Date:
Year Founded: 2011
Founders: Professors Margaret Garb and Danny Kohl
College/University/Organization Partnerships: Washington University
Funding: Initial program funding came in 2014 in the form of a three-year grant from the Consortium for Liberal Arts in Prison, associated with the Bard Prison Initiative. In 2015, the Office of the Provost at Washington University also provided funding. As of Fall 2017, PEP is entirely funded through the Provost’s office. We plan to begin fundraising efforts for scholarships for our students who are released and wish to continue their education at Washington University.
PEP began offering courses in 2014. We hope to grant our first Associate in Arts degree in June 2018. Students who are released from prison are encouraged to continue their education at University College at Washington University.
Evaluation: Program evaluation is based on progressive student performance, measured by qualitative assessment of student work over several years. In addition, we are in the process of establishing a system of exit-interviews of students released from prison.