Goucher Prison Education Partnership (GPEP)
The Goucher Prison Education Partnership (GPEP), a division of Goucher College, aims to provide an excellent college education to students incarcerated in Maryland state prisons.
The GPEP program offers transferrable college credit courses to 50 female inmates at Maryland Correctional Institute-Jessup (MCIJ). GPEP offers two courses per semester at MCIJ, each meeting 3 times per week. Faculty from Goucher College and other area colleges and universities teach these rigorous courses. There is no charge for tuition or books. The demand for the program is so great that inmates often must wait two years to enroll. Since students put in a full day of work in prison industries, they must learn to manage their time to fit in homework and studying.
GPEP students gain a tool that can never be taken from them: a rigorous, dynamic education that prepares them for a lifetime of professional, social, and political engagement. It also serves as the foundation for meaningful, well-paying employment. Participants are far less likely to return to prison than non-participants. Most GPEP students also are parents; 92 percent of female parents identified as primary caregivers prior to their arrest. In 2016, Goucher received permission to confer a bachelor’s degree to prison students. The Goucher Prison Education Partnership boasts an admirable 88 percent retention rate.
The Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle funding helped and expand a program for women incarcerated in Maryland prisons get a college degree. By allowing more class subjects to be added to the curriculum, the program has grown by 30%. Participants are less likely to return to prison, and also have increased their opportunity for meaningful, well-paying jobs upon release.