East Moline inmates studying in Augustana College program

September 26, 2021 GMT

EAST MOLINE, Ill. (AP) — Inmates at East Moline Correctional Center have begun a Bachelor of Arts program through Augustana College.

State officials say 10 students began study late in the summer. They are taking courses from professors who lecture on the same subjects on Augustana’s Rock Island campus.

It’s the first BA program offered East Moline inmates in more than 20 years.

The initial program offers a communications studies major with other majors to be added. The liberal arts curriculum includes history, literature, math, foreign languages, religion, science and the arts.

Illinois Department of Corrections Director Rob Jeffreys says a college degree is key to those in custody who want to change their lives and provide financially for their families.

Augustana modeled its program after the Bard Prison Initiative. It was featured in the 2019 PBS documentary “College Behind Bars.”

Students in the Augustana Prison Education Program pay no tuition or any costs associated with coursework. The program is funded by the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation.