NJ-STEP has been pre-selected for the Pathways Project managed by the Vera Institute of Justice and funded by a conglomerate of funders including Ford, Gates, Kaiser, Soros, and the Sunshine Lady Foundation. Ford and SLF have committed $4 million over the next four years to support our work. WE are in the process of raising an additional $500,000 per year enable us to expand to full capacity.
The Petey Greene Program
In September 2010, TCNJ and its IPTO finalized a partnership with the The Petey Greene Program (PG), a non-profit organization based in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 2008 and directed by Mr. Charles Puttkammer (Princeton University Class of 1958), Mr. James Farrin (Princeton University Class of 1958), and Dr. Cornel West, Class of 1943 University Professor in the Center for African American Studies at Princeton, the PG recruits and organizes volunteers from Princeton University and the surrounding community to tutor and teach courses at Garden State, AC Wagner, and Edna Mahan. The PG generously provides TCNJ with transportation between the prison facilities and the College each semester for students and faculty participating in the joint College in Prison course. Dr. Chazelle has been appointed to the PG Board and works closely with other Board members to assist with both PG and IPTO initiatives in prison education and assure their coordination.
Sunshine Lady Foundation
Endowed by Doris Buffett, the sister of Warren Buffet, the Sunshine Lady Foundation (SLF) is the principal private benefactor of prison college programs in the US. The SLF stipulates that all prison college programs it funds must offer inmates curricula leading toward a college degree. The reasons for this requirement are clear. Although the rate of incarceration of poor minorities, especially blacks, without high school diplomas has tripled in the last three decades, a less well-known statistic is that the rate for such inmates with even some college education has dropped. By enabling qualified prisoners to take college credit courses and work toward a degree, prison college programs provide a tremendous service not only to the inmates but to the wider public. As they substantially increase inmates’ success at finding good jobs once released, they lessen the burden ex-prisoners place on private charities and government assistance programs and the likelihood they will return to crime, thereby improving public safety.
The Foundation awarded TCNJ a major grant in November 2010 to develop and expand its prison education work in order to provide qualified inmates at both Albert C. Wagner and Garden State Youth Correctional Facilities with access to college credit courses within the frame of Associate Degree tracks in Business Management and Liberal Arts and Sciences. Thanks to the generosity of the SLF, the new Associate Degree programs commenced on schedule at the two prisons in early 2011; they are currently the only college degree programs for male inmates in New Jersey. The SLF has renewed its grant to TCNJ for 2012.
In designing and implementing the Associate Degree programs and also providing a Certificate program in Small Business Employment Readiness at the same prisons, the IPTO works with its partners in the Central Jersey Alliance for Prison Education, Mercer County Community College (MCCC), Princeton University’s Prison Teaching Initiative (PTI), and the Petey Greene Prisoner Assistance Program (PGPAP). Most of our college courses for incarcerated students are accredited through MCCC, while a few are accredited through TCNJ; Certificates and Associate degrees are awarded solely through MCCC. The instructors are a mix of faculty, paid adjuncts and volunteers; a few volunteers are from TCNJ while most are organized through the PTI. Approximately 500 inmates enroll in our college degree courses this fall at the two prisons.
While the majority of the enrolled inmates will probably not finish degrees in prison, whether because of release or transfer to another facility, they are able to apply their earned credits towards degrees from a state college or university once they have completed their sentences. Through our partner, the Rutgers Mountainview Project, a selected group of the inmates we teach gain admission to Rutgers University-New Brunswick when they move into halfway houses or are released; they work at Rutgers-New Brunswick toward Bachelor degrees.
Second Chance Act Grant
TCNJ and the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC) received word September 15, 2010 that the DOC application for one of the highly competitive federal Second Chance Act Grants, of which TCNJ is a sub-grantee, was successful. A major award renewable for up to three years, this grant provides TCNJ with substantial financial resources to enhance its initiatives at AC Wagner. During each year of the grant, starting January 1, 2011, inmates enrolled in TCNJ-taught courses at AC Wagner will receive college credit. To assist enrolled inmates to complete coursework successfully, TCNJ student volunteers serve as teaching assistants and tutors in one-on-one and small group study sessions.
While most of the work of the IPTO and its Central Jersey Alliance partners depends on our volunteers’ generous contributions of time, energy, and materials, we are grateful for significant external funding from a number of sources. These are included, in 2011-2012, a federal Second Chance Act Award for which the New Jersey department of Corrections (DOC) partnered with TCNJ; a federal Specter Grant (Incarcerated Individuals Programs) that the DOC made available to MCCC; and a Sunshine Lady Foundation Award to TCNJ. Additional funding has come from the Astrophysics Department at Princeton University, the Bonner Center, the History Department at TCNJ, MCCC, the Pace Center for Civic Engagement at Princeton University, and the Petey Greene Prisoner Assistance Program. Through an initiative organized by the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University-Newark, the CPOE and its Central Jersey Alliance partners are currently working with other providers of prison education in New Jersey to coordinate their programs, expanding them to other state prisons, and seek additional external funding.
The Corporation for National and Community Service / AmeriCorps
Each year, AmeriCorps offers 75,000 opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve through a network of partnerships with local and national nonprofit groups. Whether your service makes a community safer, gives a child a second chance, or helps protect the environment, you’ll be getting things done through AmeriCorps.
AmeriCorps members address critical needs in communities all across America through a variety of activities:
- Tutor and mentor disadvantaged youth
- Fight illiteracy
- Improve health services
- Build affordable housing
- Teach computer skills
- Clean parks and streams
- Manage or operate after-school programs
- Help communities respond to disasters
- Build organizational capacity