Reentry Lifeskills

January 20, 2023

College Degree Courses for Prisoners: Yes, You Can Get a College Degree in Prison

What Does a College Degree Program in Prison Look Like?


College degree programs in prison differ significantly from their traditional counterparts. While the core curriculum remains consistent with what is taught at colleges outside of prison, the class formats are generally unorthodox. Instead of attending classes on campus, students attend classes either virtually or in one large classroom inside the prison.

Despite this unconventional structure, college degree courses in prison offer many of the same benefits as any other college program, including increased personal and professional skills, developed knowledge of a particular field, and heightened opportunities for employment following release from prison. Many prisons offer educational incentives such as shortening an inmate’s sentence for successfully completing the program or access to resources like textbooks and library materials; however, these incentives vary widely across states and correctional institutions. While enrolling in college courses in prison can be intimidating at first, it ultimately proves to be invaluable as an individual strives to rebuild their life after jail.

Reducing Recidivism With Education


College degree programs in prison are becoming increasingly popular as a way to reduce recidivism rates. According to studies, incarcerated individuals who participate in college education while they’re incarcerated were 43% more likely to stay out of prison after release than those who don’t. Research also suggests that helping incarcerated individuals acquire degrees can save states thousands of dollars on incarceration costs by reducing the need for ongoing supervision and re-incarceration. Despite these benefits, there’s still relatively little awareness of the various initiatives at work to provide degree-level opportunities for incarcerated individuals. The availability of college courses in correctional institutions should be increased so that more people serving time have access to education and improved livelihoods upon release.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A: Yes, many prisons offer college programs in prison so individuals can earn degrees while serving their time. These programs often include virtual classes as well as classes taught directly in prison. Some possible degree options include associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in subjects like business, social work, criminal justice, psychology, healthcare administration, and more. Incentives for completing these programs vary by state and institution but ultimately can lead to increased employment opportunities after release from prison.
A: Once released from prison, formerly incarcerated individuals can search for employment and educational opportunities. Many states provide vocational training, job placement assistance, and other resources to help individuals transition back into society. A variety of non-profit organizations also offer job training and placement for those with a criminal background. Additionally, ex-offenders can check their local listings for employment opportunities or look into educational options, such as apprenticeship programs. Ultimately, incarcerated individuals must create a plan for their life after prison and take advantage of the resources available.
A: There are a variety of ways to help someone in prison. First and foremost, it is vital to reach out and offer emotional support. Additionally, you can donate books, magazines, newspapers, or audiovisual materials. You can also help by volunteering at the prison, donating money to support reentry programs and other resources, or advocating for improved conditions. Finally, if you have the resources, you can also help by hiring individuals released from prison or providing job training and placement. By offering support, you can make a positive difference in the life of someone in prison.

What Does Reentry Lifeskills Offer?


Incarceration can often have a positive effect on the individuals who go through it, providing a time and place for them to reflect on their lives and the issues holding them back. The newly-developed correspondence courses for inmates offered by Reentry Lifeskills provide incarcerated individuals a valuable opportunity to do just that by teaching life skills that can help ween them off of negative behaviors and onto paths characterized by improved happiness and productivity. These include essential life skills such as self-discipline, communication, and problem-solving within the context of anger management, parenting, and other critical life topics. In addition, these courses for prisoners offer an opportunity to evaluate thought patterns and take active steps toward improving them. With materials specifically designed for people in their situation, the courses present stories of real people with real problems, showing how they overcame roadblocks between them and success. It’s our hope that these life skills will enable your friends or family members who are currently behind bars to look forward to brighter futures.

Incarcerated Individuals Matter


Referring to incarcerated individuals instead of inmates or prisoners is a way of recognizing their human dignity. It emphasizes not their punishment but how we can better serve them and make a positive social impact. The terms “inmate” and “prisoner,” although commonly used in popular culture, can often contribute to the harsh stigma associated with incarceration, reducing these people to less than human. By using the term “incarcerated individual,” we are respecting people who have been imprisoned and normalizing conversations about incarceration and its effects on society. It also shows our desire to move away from punitive measures and towards rehabilitative opportunities for those who have broken the law. Ultimately, referring to incarcerated individuals instead of “prisoners” or “inmates” honors those currently imprisoned and recognizes that they deserve better treatment and rehabilitation options than mass incarceration can provide.

Contact Reentry Lifeskills Today


At Reentry Lifeskills, we strive to provide incarcerated individuals with the tools they need to become productive, responsible citizens of their communities. We are dedicated to creating educational resources to help incarcerated individuals take control of their own lives and positively contribute to society. Every day we are working to end the cycle of recidivism and create equitable justice systems that prioritize rehabilitation. It’s our mission to help incarcerated individuals build better futures for themselves, and it’s something that we can all work together to achieve.

If you need further information about our services or have any questions about how to best support the incarcerated individuals in your life, please contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you and working to make a positive difference in the lives of those who need it most.

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