Each Project Freedom institution will carefully craft a strategic plan for the growth and expansion of their higher education in prison program. This includes timelines and milestones for professional development, anchor assessments, and evaluations throughout the first, third, and fifth years.
Each Project Freedom institution will develop a realistic set of “funnel” admission goals for recruitment and admission. These goals will take into account the unique nature of admitting incarcerated students and will highlight their unique administrative needs.
The Jamii Executive Team will work collaboratively with Project Freedom institutions to construct a faculty training manual that moves beyond the minutiae of procedure (i.e. access to technology, lockdowns, etc.) and into the much needed space of how to properly interrogate one’s assumptions and beliefs about criminality and incarcerated people prior to walking into a classroom. Training will also include strategies on how to decolonize a curriculum, implement anti-racist work into a course, and academically collaborate with community-based organizations.
We will review the full curriculum for the proposed credentials being offered to provide advice around best practices for course texts, instructional methodologies, and ways to thoughtfully structure a syllabus to apply specifically to incarcerated students and their needs.
Evaluative Research: Data will be collected for each institution to measure progress as well as indicate opportunities for growth and improvement. The research emerging from Project Freedom will contribute valuable insight to the field of higher education in prison.
Beyond conversations about the cost of attendance of a college education, schools offering higher education in prison programs need to consider whether and how students are choosing between working facility jobs and being a student. The Jamii Executive Team will help schools think through whether and how Title IV options, like Work Study, may or may not be applied to incarcerated students.
The language about quality in higher education in prison lacks evidence-based research about what quality means. The Index will build upon work done by the Alliance of Higher Education in Prison (AHEP), Dr. Erin Castro and University of Utah Team, as well as the Institute for Higher Education (IHEP). While data collection and analysis are absolutely important to gauging student access and outcomes, a consideration of what happens inside the classroom is equally as integral. Looking along particular axes and developing an individual school/program dashboard will help move the field forward in the program quality conversations.
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