Higher Education Programs in CA State Prisons

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Higher Education Programs in CA State Prisons

The requested details on higher education programs being offered at 21 additional prisons as well as 8 correctional facilities in California have been provided in the attached spreadsheet. These programs are offered by Feather River College, Folsom Lake College, Hartnell College, Lake Tahoe Community College, Pitzer College, Southwestern College, Palo Verde College, Merced College, San Joaquin Delta College, Taft College, and Coastline College. We have also updated some of the existing information in the spreadsheet and have provided the inmate student enrollment in rows 7, 33, and 34. A brief overview of the findings can be found below.
  • Some of the state prisons covered in this research include Mule Creek State Prison; California Correctional Center; California Men’s Colony; Central California Women’s Facility; California City State Prison, California City; California State Prison, Corcoran; High Desert State Prison; Folsom State Prison; San Quentin State Prison; Pelican Bay State Prison; and Calipatria State Prison among others.
  • Hartnell College is a community college that offers AAT in Psychology/Sociology to inmates in Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) and Correctional Training Facility (CTF). It also offers this program in two other correctional facilities including Monterey County Jail (MCJ) and Monterey County Youth Center (MCYC).
  • Hartnell College enrolled a total of 360 inmates in Fall 2018 and 442 inmates in Spring 2019. A further breakdown of enrollment by correctional facilities can be found in the shared spreadsheet.
  • Southwestern College offers higher education programs to inmates in Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility and San Diego County Jail, East Mesa Reentry Facility. The college enrolls nearly 275 students per semester. This number includes duplicate students who are enrolled in more than one course per semester.
  • Merced College offers higher education programs to 1,803 inmates in Valley State Prison and Central California Women's Facility.

Research Strategy

We were unable to find the inmate enrollment for a few colleges/education programs (e.g., San Joaquin Delta College) after scouring through the official college website as well as news, media, and industry resources such as Prison Studies Project, USA Today, Tahoe Daily Tribune, The Hechinger Report, Fast Company, California Competes, and University Business, among others. While this approach was helpful in finding the total inmate enrollment for most colleges or the number of inmates enrolled in an education program for several prisons, some colleges did not disclose the total number of incarcerated students or enrollment by education program or correctional facility. We also reviewed the websites of California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and Corrections to College California but were unable to find the inmate enrollment for the remaining colleges.
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