Huskies for Opportunities in Prison Education (HOPE) is a non-profit student organization at the University of Washington that raises awareness about the current state of the US prison system and promotes increased provisions for postsecondary education opportunities in prison.
Education not only changes the life of one individual, it also promotes a safer & healthier community for us all. Inmates who participated in correctional education programs proved 43% less likely to return to prison upon release as opposed to those who did not (RAND Research Corp). According to the Federal Register, the fee to cover the average cost of incarceration for Federal inmates in Fiscal Year 2015 was $31,977.65 ($87.61 per day)) which would not only save the state serious money but more importantly provides an ex-con with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue a stable lifestyle. Unfortunately, the State of Washington imposes severe restrictions on public funds to be used toward postsecondary educational programs in prisons. As a result, prisoners can often only receive a college education with the help of non-profit organizations.
Every summer for the past 3 years, students from the University of Washington have taken a mix enrollment class with prisoners at Twin Rivers Unit (TRU) at the Monroe Correctional Complex. In this class students work together to draft proposals for projects to lower recidivism. The Chief Reporter for the Monroe Monitor and Valley News published an article about the classes agenda and interviewed some of the prisoners enrolled in the class. Here is what they had to say…
“I’ve always known that there was some correlation between how I was raised and how many years I’ve been stuck in these cages. It’s intuitive to me to know that,” Carpenter said. “But what I did not know was how much scientific data there was linking adverse childhood experiences to inmates.”
“One of the few things that I think everybody agrees on is that recidivism rates need to be lower, and that means making people more resilient,” Andrews said. “To do that, we need to first understand the problem.”
“It’s not possible to obviate, in its entirety, the sense of alienation that a justice-involved citizen will feel upon their release and return to society,” Schmitt said. “However, through the proper preparation, what we can do is increase their chance and their success rate.”
“There is a statistic that says there is a correlation between the lack of post-secondary education and incarceration,” Thomas said. “This statistic is very simple. Seventy-three to 85 percent of the individuals who have already been incarcerated are likely to get re-incarcerated if they don’t pursue post-secondary education after prison.”
“Justice-involved people often belong to disenfranchised social groups. These social groups are often plagued with legacies of poverty, poor education, poor health care and negative social connections, just to name a few,” Jihad said.
“Education brings a person out of the darkness of ignorance and into the light of understanding and self-awareness,” Jihad said.
Quotes from: http://www.monroemonitor.com/2016/08/22/an-education-in-justice/
Hendrickson, Chris. “An education in justice.” The Monroe Monitor and Valley News. 22 August 2016. Web.
From now until the end of June 2017, HOPE will be raising funds to provide scholarships for inmates at the Twin Rivers Unit at the Monroe Correctional Complex to take these invaluable correspondence education courses.
Our $5000 goal is to allow for 10 individuals to take one class each. They will be taking these classes through established and reliable institutions (for example, the new correspondence courses offered through Seattle Central College or the long-established courses offered by Ohio University) which are on average, $500 per class. The exposure to even a single course can make a world of difference. Please help us to reach our goal to create more opportunities for incarcerated students who are seeking to make real changes in their lives. We thank you for your support and contributions, which will cover tuition, books, and supplies.