Pitt Prison Education Project (PPEP)
Prison education has been found to be highly effective at both lowering recidivism rates as well as securing gainful employment for individuals released from prison. Pitt can and should be a regional leader in this field. Formed in 2016, the Pitt Prison Education Project (PPEP) has been teaching courses at the State Correctional Institute at Fayette (SCI Fayette) modeled on the nationally known Inside Out (I-O) prison exchange program, which has a 20-year track record of success at over 100 educational institutions and 100 correctional facilities. Taught at the prison, these courses are composed of both incarcerated (inside) students and traditional (outside) undergraduates. They have been transformational for all involved.
The seed funding will be used to train additional faculty in prison pedagogy and broaden the disciplinary range of courses, expand tutoring at Fayette so that students there have writing support of the kind available to Pitt undergraduates, strengthen our methods of assessment of the program, and create a focus group of stakeholders (e.g., Fayette students, Pitt students, prison administration, Pitt faculty, etc.) to map out the future of PPEP.
Our goal for 2018-2020 is to develop the track record necessary to make us compelling candidates for external funding of a Prison Education Center at Pitt. The Center will have teaching, research, and service components. Its vision will be guided by a think tank consisting of all stakeholders.