Prison Scholars Program

“Education has changed the trajectory of my life…it has given me purpose as a human being.”

Halim Flowers, former Prison Scholar

Through the Prison Scholars Program, students at the D.C. Jail take courses with Georgetown professors and earn college credits while incarcerated. In partnership with the D.C. Department of Corrections, PJI offers several courses each semester for students in the jail’s Central Treatment Facility, which houses male and female D.C. residents awaiting trial, serving short sentences, or preparing to return to their communities after a longer period of incarceration with the Bureau of Prisons.

The Prison Scholars Program at the D.C. Jail is the only prison education program in the country that offers courses for incarcerated men and women together, ensuring that all residents at the facility have the opportunity to pursue higher education.

Due to COVID-19, Prison Scholars courses are being offered virtually, with incarcerated students accessing course material through tablets.

Courses currently offered during the Spring 2021 semester: 

  • Religion and Spirituality in Africa, a three-credit course taught by Annalisa Butticci, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies
  • African Politics, a three-credit course taught by Travis Adkins, Adjunct Assistant Professor with the School of Foreign Service Center for Security Studies
  • Global Justice, a one-credit course taught by Beba Cibralic, Ph.D. candidate with the Department of Philosophy 
  • Forgotten Humanity of Prisoners, a one-credit course taught by Marc Howard, Professor of Government and Director of the Prisons and Justice Initiative. This course is offered to both incarcerated and main campus students.

The purpose of the Scholars Program is to improve the lives of all District residents by educating incarcerated citizens and preparing them to pursue a positive role in their home communities when they return. Our mission is backed by a large body of evidence suggesting that college education in jails and prisons reduces recidivism and costs, creates safer communities and stronger families, and greatly enhances the employment prospects of returning citizens. We hope this program can become a cornerstone of reentry for District citizens.

Georgetown is uniquely positioned to create a strong and successful prison education program: We have extensive and distinguished faculty, enthusiastic and committed students, a prime location in proximity to Washington policymakers, and a 30-year history of prison outreach. The Prison Scholars Program also embodies Georgetown’s Jesuit commitment to cura personalis, “care for the whole person,” and charitable values that we “visit the prisoner.”

To support the Scholars Program, please consider making a tax-deductible donation.

News from the Prison Scholars Program