For many years, the Wesleyan student community has been passionately committed to extending educational resources into prison. The Center for Prison Education was established by a group of undergraduates who had spent their time in college engaged in prison activism and volunteerism. The outcome of extensive collaboration between faculty, students and administrators, the Center was officially founded by a vote of the Wesleyan faculty in May 2009 as a two-year pilot program.
In the Fall of 2009 we admitted our first cohort of students--nineteen men at Cheshire Prison Correctional Institution, a maximum-security facility. Another 72 men have since been admitted and an additional 50 engaged in college prep workshops. In the spring of 2013, the Center expanded to York Correctional Institution, the only state women’s facility in Connecticut, admitting an inaugural cohort of 19 women. Now in it’s seventh academic year, the Center serves 63 incarcerated men and women.
Holding regular admissions at these facilities, the CPE plans to grow by approximately 20 students each year. Looking forward, the CPE hopes to become a leader in bringing the national movement to reinstate post-secondary education in prison to the state of Connecticut.