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Renewing Communities

Students of the Bard Prison Initiative receive their college degrees at Eastern New York Correctional Facility, 2013. (Photo courtesy of Bard Prison Initiative.)


Degrees of Freedom: Expanding College Opportunities for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Californians

Degrees of Freedom finds that California has not been adequately providing effective college opportunities for criminal justice-involved students, despite the fact that such access will help California build safer and more economically viable communities. The study is a joint project of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center at Stanford Law School and the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at UC Berkeley School of Law.

The 154-page report targets policymakers, potential students and college administrators in California. It also provides a valuable blueprint for other states seeking to build effective college pathways that will help these underserved students become college graduates. Based on over 175 interviews, academic research and historical investigation, the report profiles existing programs and identifies recommendations for critical growth and sustainability. It highlights challenges and successful strategies, and sets out a series of concrete recommendations to ensure that future programs are sustainable, scalable and high-quality. It demonstrates how the state’s existing structures can bring education and criminal justice together to achieve mutual goals, including increasing college graduation rates, preparing students to meet the demands of the labor market, and increasing the chances of reentry success.

Read the full report

Read the executive summary of the report

Read a fact sheet about the report

Read the press release about the report