York College, which is three miles from the facility, is piloting a program with 12 inmates.
Provost Shane Mountjoy says the first group started taking a class this month.
“There are so many cycles of poverty and poor choices and what-not that often lead to former inmates recommitting and having to go back in,” Mountjoy says. “We’re hoping to be part of breaking that cycle.”
One course is being offered this semester, but Mountjoy says plans call for two per semester going forward, leading to a general education associate’s degree for those who complete the coursework.
NCCW worked with college representatives to identify the first cohort of inmates to be part of the pilot program.
“Those women, I think they view this as a privilege and it’s something, I think, they’re going to work hard for,” Mountjoy says. “It was exciting to see their response just to getting a piece of paper saying ‘You’re accepted into York College.’”
York is offering scholarships to the first group of inmates in the pilot program.
Mountjoy says as soon as it was announced to professors, many of them volunteered to teach at the NCCW facility.