In an effort to reduce Vermont’s recidivism rate and support workforce development, the Community College of Vermont (CCV) is partnering with the Vermont Dept. of Corrections to deliver the Corrections Post-Secondary Education Initiative (CPSEI).
Supported by a federal grant from the Dept. of Justice, the program provides tuition-free college courses to Dept. of Corrections staff and Vermonters who are incarcerated. Senator Sanders’s office helped in securing funding for the program as part of a $38 million package to support initiatives that strengthen Vermont communities.
“CCV is proud to offer this opportunity alongside the Department of Corrections,” said CCV President Joyce Judy. “Corrections education is key to a comprehensive economic development strategy. It’s about ensuring that all Vermonters have access to the training and education they need for the jobs that are here in Vermont.”
Judy also emphasized the program’s role in addressing Vermont’s recidivism rate. According to research from the Lumina Foundation, completing a college program may reduce recidivism by as much as 72%.
“The Corrections Post-Secondary Education Initiative greatly expands access to post-secondary education for both Department staff and our incarcerated population,” said Nicholas J. Deml, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Corrections. “This opportunity will not only catalyze staff professional development, but will also help prepare incarcerated individuals for a successful re-entry to their communities. The department is thrilled to expand its partnership with the Community College of Vermont in this effort and looks forward to the positive impacts of CSPEI throughout the correctional system and Vermont’s communities.”
The program is open to staff and residents at all six of Vermont’s correctional facilities, including the state’s women’s prison. Students will also have access to academic and career coaching. Courses are available to Corrections staff beginning in summer 2023, and to residents beginning in fall 2023.