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The Prison Education Project has expanded educational opportunities for the in-custody population in 48 correctional facilities throughout California and beyond. With the assistance of 4,000 university student and faculty volunteers, PEP has serviced approximately 12,000 in-custody students in these facilities since 2011. PEP is the largest volunteer-based prison education program of its kind in the United States. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and PEP have embraced a progressive and innovative approach to supplementing and expanding educational opportunities for the incarcerated population. By providing academic, life skills, and career development programming, PEP aims to educate, empower, and transform the lives of incarcerated individuals. The goal of PEP is to create a "Prison-to-School Pipeline" and provide in-custody students with the cognitive tools necessary to function as productive citizens. Our multi-layered approach enhances human development, reduces recidivism, saves resources, and allows participants to ultimately contribute to the economic and civic life of California. The overarching philosophy of PEP is to use the resources in the backyard of each of the state’s prisons to make change e.g. university student and faculty volunteers. There is a college within a 30-mile radius of the majority of the state's 34 prisons. PEP's goal is to collaborate with these colleges to assist the CDCR in its mission of rehabilitation. For every percentage point that we reduce recidivism, we save the state approximately $85 million (see calculation). The annual cost of housing an inmate in California is approximately $81,203, which is now more than the cost of tuition at Harvard (see report). A study funded by the U.S. Justice Department found that prison education reduced recidivism by 43% (see report).

Providing Academic, Life Skills, and Career Development Modules to the In-Custody Population
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