Program Website: http://southside.edu/campus-within-walls
Ann Cavan, Regional Principal, Lunenburg Correctional Center, Victoria, VA
Anne Hayes, PhD., Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Special Projects, Southside Virginia Community College, Keysville, VA
Program Description: “The Campus Within Walls” program began in January 2011, under the leadership of Dr. John Cavan, President of Southside Virginia Community College and in partnership with the Virginia Department of Corrections. The program utilized classroom and housing space at the DOC level “2” (low/medium security level, dormitory housing) Lunenburg Correctional Center in response to the then newly inaugurated Governor Robert McDonnell’s call for reduction in recidivism. The program continues to offer postsecondary education to incarcerated students based on the premise that higher education attained in prison significantly reduces the likelihood of a released felon reoffending. The Campus Within Walls program’s innovative approach focuses on degree completion in a fast-track, technology rich, learning community environment.
Degrees Offered: Associates
Programs Offered: Information Technology Certificate
Unique Features: The Campus Within Walls program is nationally recognized for its innovative approach to higher education in a prison setting. The program is the recipient of both the Bellwether award and the Virginia Tech “Excellence in Education” award. Incarcerated students are housed together in an identified housing unit at the facility, thus creating a collective sense of pride and determination among the community of learners. The building has a large sign placed at the front which can be seen throughout the facility noting that it is the Campus Within Walls residence unit. Incarcerated teaching assistants (some with college undergraduate degrees and higher) reside with the students and provide tutoring and mentoring support. The teaching assistants also serve in the classroom, assisting college faculty. College classrooms are equipped with modern technology such as “smart boards” just like classrooms outside the facility’s walls. Students have use of laptop computers in both the classrooms and the housing unit.
Correctional Facilities Served: Lunenburg Correctional Center, Victoria, Virginia
Population Served: Incarcerated men who meet community college admission requirements
Number of Students: Approximately 50 with 8 teaching assistants
Graduates to Date: Through 2013, 71 students received Information Technology certificates from the community college. Additionally, 11 students completed COMP TIA A+ certification during the same time period. Through May 2014, 6 men were awarded Associates Degrees in Arts and Sciences by the community college. Three other students are anticipated to complete degree requirements by the end of the first quarter in 2015.
Year Founded: 2011
Founders: Dr. John Cavan
College/University/Organization Partnerships: Virginia Department of Corrections and Southside Virginia Community College
Funding: The program was the recipient of a one-time Workplace Training for Incarcerated Individuals Grant through the U.S. Department of Justice Second Chance Grant program during 2011 and 2012. The program also received a grant from the Bard College Foundation. A number of veterans are enrolled who receive education benefits through the Veterans Administration (GI Bill recipients). Additionally, a significant number of current students self-fund their education as tuition paying students.