Maryland Inmates To Receive University Education

Georgetown University will be granting higher education to prison inmates in Maryland. The Georgetown Prisons and Justice Initiative (PJI) is set to launch a five-year programme that will allow inmates in Maryland to gain bachelors degrees. Inmates will be following courses administered by Georgetown University, which is based in Washington. Representatives from Georgetown met with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) on March 17th.

Georgetown Prisons and Justice Initiative director Marc Howard was pleased that Maryland would be able to expand its educational offerings for inmates. “There is a great deal of research showing that prison education reduces costs, makes communities safer and greatly improves the lives of participants and their families,” Marc Howard said.

The PJI believe the opportunity to earn a higher education will give the inmates the resources to find ‘financial stability and socio-economic mobility’ when they are released from prison.

Photo Credit: Lauren E. Kossoff/Georgetown University

The five-year program is an extension of existing prison education opportunities put in place by the PJI. The PJI’s Prison Scholars Program offers inmates the opportunity to earn college credits for coursework.

The press release states that the expansion into university-level education ‘is funded by a $1 million three-year grant from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and further supported by Georgetown alumnus Damien Dwin’.

Marc Howard stated that the bachelors program will still be competitive. “Just like the typical admissions process at Georgetown, it will be very competitive. We’ll be looking for applicants with a high school diploma or GED who are highly motivated to complete their degree and show potential for academic excellence.”

Successful applicants will be transferred to study at the Patuxent Institution in Jessupp. After five years of study, participants will earn a liberal arts degree with specialisms in either Cultural Humanities, interdisciplinary social science or global intellectual history. The program requires 120 credit hours.

The first intake of 25 students is scheduled for Autumn 2021. At the end of the five-year programme, it is expected that 125 inmates in Maryland would have earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.

The PJI director Marc Howard said in a statement, “We hope that a degree from Georgetown will open doors for our Scholars when they return to their communities, thereby helping them overcome the obstacles and the stigma that returning citizens face.”

You can read the full press release here.