The Georgetown Prison Scholars Program at the DC Jail launched in January 2018. The Scholars Program represents a new partnership between Georgetown's Prisons and Justice Initiative and the DC Department of Corrections. The courses are held in the DC Central Treatment Facility, which houses male and female DC residents awaiting trial, serving short sentences, or preparing to return to their communities after a longer period of incarceration with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
In the Spring 2018 semester, 34 men and women incarcerated at the DC Jail began taking courses in English, Philosophy, Music, Debate, and Government, and they attended a weekly lecture series with guest speakers from across the humanities and social sciences. The classes were taught by Georgetown faculty, and several were "inside-outside" courses that also included Georgetown undergraduate students. In the Summer 2018 semester, we provided 12 courses and the Lecture Series to a group of 48 incarcerated men and women. The Fall 2018 semester included our first set of Georgetown credit-bearing courses! In addition to the two credit-bearing courses, we continued to offer 7 non credit-bearing courses and the weekly lecture series to 50 male and female incarcerated scholars. Check out some photos and our new video from our end of semester celebration! In our Spring 2019 semester, we featured another 2 credit-bearing courses in Political Philosophy and English Literature. Additionally, we offered several non-credit courses and our weekly lecture series.
Currently, we are in our Summer 2019 semester, which includes two credit-bearing courses, The Problem of God and Comparative Politics, in addition to seven non-credit courses and our lecture series. Please continue to check back for updates on our students' progress throughout the semester.
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 Scholars Program also embodies Georgetown’s Jesuit commitment to cura personalis, “care for the whole person,” and charitable values that we “visit the prisoner.”
Georgetown’s commitment to the Scholars Program is a natural fit with the mission of the DC Department of Corrections, under the leadership of Director Quincy Booth. We are confident that Georgetown has a partner institution that understands the value of education and is committed to improving the lives of all District residents.
To support the Scholars Program, please consider making a tax-deductible donation.