Prison-to-College Pipeline Program

University of Mississippi

Central MS Correctional Facility

Dr. Otis W. Pickett (far left), Dr. Stephanie Rolph (right), and teaching assistant Alexis Smith (far right) are pictured with the 18 graduates of the Summer 2016 Prison-to-College Pipeline Program course at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, “‘Turning Oppression into Opportunity’: Understanding Justice, Human Rights, and Gender Through the Lens of Southern Women’s Experiences from the Indigenous Era to the Modern Civil Rights Era.” Also pictured are Ms. Natasha Cavett and Ms. Christie Scott, who both work at CMCF.
(Photo Courtesy of Mississippi Department of Corrections)

In Summer 2016, the PTCPP expanded to the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (CMCF) to provide higher education opportunities to incarcerated women in the state of Mississippi. The PTCPP was able to offer this course through the support of the Mississippi Humanities Council and through the teaching team of Dr. Otis W. Pickett, Assistant Professor of History at Mississippi College, and Dr. Stephanie Rolph, Associate Professor of History at Millsaps College. The course, entitled “‘Turning Oppression into Opportunity’: Understanding Justice, Human Rights, and Gender Through the Lens of Southern Women’s Experiences from the Indigenous Era to the Modern Civil Rights Era,” sought to help women at CMCF learn the narrative, major themes, and history of the United States through the lens of Southern women’s experiences. Eighteen students completed the course, and, to the best of our knowledge, it was the first for-credit college course taught locally by Mississippi universities that women at CMCF received in the state’s history. In the June 2016 newsletter from the Mississippi Humanities Council, the Council’s Director, Dr. Stuart Rockoff, made note of CMCF students’ appreciative comments about this course: “One student penned a letter of thanks to the instructors soon after the course began. ‘I just wanted to write you to let you know how much it means to me personally . . . how much I appreciate you for making this possible. I have been here 20 years and to get a college course like this . . . there are no words.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.’” The success of this first PTCPP course at CMCF led to the creation of more PTCPP courses there in Spring 2017, Summer 2017, Spring 2018, Summer 2018, and Summer 2019 including courses taught by Susan Lassiter, Assistant Professor of English at Mississippi College; Dr. Mignon Kucia, Associate Professor of Communication at Mississippi College; and team-taught courses, such as those offered by Dr. Stephanie Rolph and Dr. Robert Luckett, Director of the Margaret Walker Center for the Study of African American Experience and Associate Professor of History at Jackson State University.  Additionally, Alexis Smith, M.A. candidate at Mississippi College, has been an excellent teaching assistant and instructor in a number of PTCPP courses at CMCF.