Founded in 2005, the Post-Prison Education Program is the only program in Washington State that offers wrap-around services to releasing prisoners and their families in conjunction with providing them access, support, and the resources to attain post-secondary education. Because they are incarcerated in disproportionately high numbers, the Program focuses its efforts on uneducated communities, low-income communities, and communities of color. The Program works within prisons and in partnership with a state-wide network of community and governmental organizations to recruit students, fund the students’ educational needs, and connect students to existing community services.
The Program reduces the likelihood that a child will follow his or her parent to prison by creating a positive environment for both the student and his or her family. Research shows that a child of an imprisoned or formerly imprisoned individual is five to seven times more likely than children of non-incarcerated parents to follow his or her parent to prison. The Post-Prison Education Program recognizes this risk and provides essential services to the whole family. The Program’s intervention at the family level helps reduce the likelihood of a child following a parent to prison by 25%. By taking a holistic approach that focuses on both the former prisoner and his or her family, we dramatically reduce the cycle and effects of inter-generational incarceration.