The Post-Prison Education
Program Mission:

The Post-Prison Education Program offers hope and creates opportunity for people returning to society by providing access to higher education. Imprisoned and formerly imprisoned people are offered the tools and human support they need to find gainful, meaningful employment, and break free from cycles of hopelessness, poverty, and imprisonment.


To increase the number of released prisoners that transition successfully to state community colleges upon their release from prison in order that they reorient their lives, get back on track with their education, and gain the skills necessary to secure meaningful work at a living wage thereby reducing recidivism, economic crime, and prison overcrowding.

The Need:

Currently, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, three out of every five released prisoners recidivate (DOL reports 650,000 people are released from prison yearly with three out of five re-offending within three to five years // DOJ reports that after release two out of three will re-offend). Many crimes are economic. People are being released from prison without requisite skills and resources necessary to find stable work at a living wage. Without adequate employment, many, if not most, are unable to secure safe and stable housing thus a destabilizing pattern of poverty, homelessness, and despair culminating in renewed criminal activity. Many people in prison lack skills they need to transition successfully to the work force. State community colleges could potentially provide rich resources for many of these individuals, but very few of those formerly imprisoned are taking advantage of this opportunity.

Proposed Solution:

Washington State Department of Corrections (hereinafter “DOC”) leaders already are working to improve the scope and quality of educational opportunities offered within prisons. The Post-Prison Education Program proposes to supplement and extend their efforts by creating a "Bridge to College" program, a community based reentry program specifically for people who want to continue their education after their release. We recommend that the "Bridge to College" reentry program integrate socially relevant support and financial support, helping those formerly imprisoned successfully bridge the cultural gap between prison life and college life. By working together, the DOC and community groups can reinforce each other's efforts by matching educational opportunity during prison with educational opportunity after prison.

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