For many years, the Wesleyan student community has been passionately committed to extending educational resources into prison. The CPE was established by a group of undergraduates who had spend their time in college engaged in prison activism and volunteerism. The outcome of extensive collaboration between faculty, students and administrators, the CPE 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.
In the Spring of 2011, the CPE underwent an extensive assessment and reapproval process, conducted by a team of Wesleyan faculty. This assessment judged the caliber of the CPE's academic program to be consistent with standards of excellence upheld on Wesleyan's campus.
As a result of this process, the CPE has been extended with an ambitious mandate for growth, authorized to admit new cohorts of incarcerated students at Cheshire and MacDougall Prisons, as well as create an additional college campus at York Prison for women in 2012. Holding regular admissions at these facilities, the CPE plans to grow by approximately 20 students each year. Looking forward, the CPE hopes to lead the larger effort to reinstate post-secondary education throughout the Connecticut prison system.