Innovative Solutions

Some states are working to overcome these barriers by providing innovative solutions to improve assessment of out-of-college learning and expand credit bearing courses within the walls.

Colorado: Learning Resources for Incarcerated Individuals from the Colorado Department of Corrections

Colorado: Learning Resources for Incarcerated Individuals from the Colorado Department of Corrections

Barrier: State departments will often restrict broadband access to incarcerated individuals, creating a barrier to offering quality education of any kind. Lack of broadband access limits the courses, content, and technology that incarcerated individuals can access. Solution: Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) partners with online curriculum vendors and industry certificate programs to increase educational options for incarcerated individuals. To limit access to other websites, CDOC created a secured link and built a firewall around the secured link ensuring that students can only access educational materials.

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Washington: College in Prison Program

Washington: College in Prison Program

Barrier: Lack of access to credit bearing courses is another barrier that incarcerated individuals face. When incarcerated individuals do have access to education, it is most frequently high-school equivalency programs, or a workforce certificate that does not always lead to credits toward a degree program. While many people complete postsecondary learning while incarcerated, upon release and enrollment in a college or university, students are asked to complete competency-exams, or additional coursework to further validate their knowledge of the content. Solution: Washington State’s College in Prison Program is a statewide system of credit-bearing courses and credentials offered through a partnership between the Washington Department of Corrections (WDOC) and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC). To reduce recidivism through education that will lead to employment upon release, WDOC partners with the SBCTC to award workforce certificates and associate degrees in correctional facilities.

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Resources

Colorado Correctional Education Program Act of 1990

Legislation directing that Colorado correctional education equips offenders with skills that lead to a living wage or job.

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CSU Pueblo

Information on educational workshops hosted for the Colorado Department of Corrections by Colorado State University-Pueblo.

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Colorado College

Overview of Colorado College's involvement in correctional education.

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Washington State's College in Prison Program

Details on the Washington State's College in Prison program including partnerships, reports, and programs offered.

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