The Prison-to-College Pipeline Program (PTCPP), a university-community engagement initiative, promotes higher education in prison in response to high rates of incarceration and the ongoing need for increased access to educational opportunities in the state of Mississippi.* In line with the University’s core value of devoting our knowledge and abilities to serve our state and world, this Program unites university faculty and administration across disciplines and area institutions in the ethical-intellectual endeavor of teaching at the postsecondary level in the state prison system. Above all, the PTCPP helps students who are imprisoned in the state of Mississippi who have attained a GED (or possess a high school diploma or high school equivalency diploma) to pursue and attain college credit and college degrees.
The PTCPP currently offers on-site, humanities-based college-level courses for imprisoned men at Parchman/Mississippi State Penitentiary and for imprisoned women at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (CMCF). We are developing more for-credit course options across the disciplines.
Drawing from our in-prison teaching experiences, we also publish and publicly present scholarly research related to the impact of higher education on imprisoned populations regionally and nationally. Ultimately, the PTCPP aims to cultivate socially-aware pedagogy, civic engagement, and engaged scholarship. We demonstrate through our teaching and presentations at Parchman and at CMCF, at our respective institutions, and across the nation the positive impacts of college-in-prison programs for the disproportionately undereducated and neglected population of adult learners behind bars—and for society at large.
*According to 2014 U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Mississippi’s imprisonment rate of 693 prisoners for every 100,000 people is third in the nation, not far behind Oklahoma and Louisiana. According to 2016 U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Mississippi’s imprisonment rate of 822 prisoners for every 100,000 people is still third in the nation, not far behind Oklahoma or Louisiana. Until 2014, Mississippi had long been second only to Louisiana in the number of persons it imprisoned per capita.