- Associated Press - Saturday, May 28, 2016

DANVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A college-in-prison program through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is offering academic courses to inmates at the Danville prison.

The Education Justice Project was launched in 2008, and is funded by grants and donations, (Champaign) News-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1TFsAlQ ) reported.

The program’s 2016 convocation was held Tuesday at the Danville Correctional Center. Those in attendance included University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen and John Baldwin, the state Department of Corrections’ acting director.

At the time of the program’s launch, two not-for-credit reading groups were offered. Now, students can take part in for-credit courses in math, writing, science, education, business and history that can be transferred to four-year schools when students are released.

Also available to the students are a computer lab, reading groups, tutoring, writing workshops and a weekly radio program. The college-in-prison program also has community initiatives, including one meant to link up family with community-based resources for support during their loved ones’ incarceration and when they go back into society.

College credits have been obtained by more than 200 incarcerated men thus far. There were 45 students in the program during the 2015-16 year. Program director Rebecca Ginsburg said 65 students have been released, six of them in the last year.

Baldwin said he was pleased to learn of the college-in-prison program, and that he couldn’t remember a time when he has “seen a sitting university president” in a prison. He said he would like see inmates in the state be offered more evidence-based educational programs.

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Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com

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