Post-Prison Education Program Programs
Top priorities and services include meeting the legitimate frugal needs of former prisoners, by providing housing and delivering hope and opportunity through extensive outreach in prisons, and education.
Prisoners are released with little or no support, $40, medication to last two weeks (if suffering from mental illness) and one set of clothing. They have often accrued significant debt (Legal Financial Obligations); have the stigma of incarceration; are undereducated and barred from employment opportunities thus remaining in a cycle of intergenerational poverty, debt, and homelessness. In 2008, of the 28,671 former prisoners actively supervised on probation, 3,867 were known to be homeless. The Program recognizes that no one can succeed as a student or employee without a roof over their heads, housing is therefore a top priority and service. Students and staff work hard to secure safe, sober and stable housing for students and their families. In the last six months the Program has spent more than $37,885 on housing and utilities costs alone. The Program hopes to buy a property to serve as a sustainable, cost-effective way to house students and build community.
The Program fights to create hope where there is none through inspiring presentations inside prisons and intensive support upon release. Without concrete hope, no one will make the changes towards better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities.
Studies show that two years of post-secondary education reduces the rate of recidivism by more than 50%. The Program's .018 rate of recidivism proves its strategy and methods work.
These services allow our students to re-orient their lives, to stay out of prison, be effective parents, Dean’s List students, and voices for change.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
The Post-Prison Education Program (PPEP) has a documented rate of recidivism of less than two percent – as contrasted with the Washington State Department of Corrections’ rate of approximately 43%. The Program accomplishes what the State does not by meeting the legitimate frugal needs of former prisoners simultaneous to linking them with post-secondary education, building meaningful mentorship relationships, and delivering consequential support services whether they are housing, legal representation, mental health counseling, or tutoring. The Program’s success not only dramatically reduces recidivism but also ensures that the students finish their education, and go on to have stable jobs, strong families, and productive lives. The Program’s students do everything in their power to help their peers stay out of prison. They tutor, mentor and volunteer to help others succeed in breaking the cycle of incarceration and help to create safer communities.
One example of this is a student who works tirelessly to maintain a 3.8 GPA, while working full-time and taking care of her 17 year old daughter. After serving over 11 years in prison this woman has made extraordinary progress towards achieving her goal of earning a college degree. She was granted custody of her 17 year old daughter after not having contact with her for 12 years, she also regularly returns to both the men's and women's prisons and provides encouragement to the men and women still incarcerated. Another example is a student of the Program who recently was awarded the Martin Achievement Scholarship which will allow her to transfer to and complete her bachelors degree at the University of Washington. This student also has been honored by having her writings published by both Yale and Harvard. The Program’s students are motivated to continue the chain of success.