Prison education has the power to reduce recidivism and open new doors for inmates reentering society. On May 8–10, leaders in education and criminal justice reform are gathering in California to explore the next steps in developing high-quality education programs for prisoners in that state and beyond.



At the Renewing Communities symposium on May 8, California state attorney general Kamala D. Harris announced the creation of Back on Track, a recidivism reduction pilot program in partnership with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). “Tough-on-crime policies alone will not solve California’s 21st-century public safety challenges,” Attorney General Harris said. “It is time for smart-on-crime policies that reduce our prison population, while keeping our communities safe. Back on Track will work to reduce levels of recidivism by connecting offenders with the services they need to get their lives on track.”

With major support from the Ford Foundation, the pilot program will expand LASD’s Education Based Incarceration Program through a partnership with the Los Angeles Community College District, providing higher education opportunities that include prerequisites to community college degrees, credentials, and certificates, as well as essential reentry services like employment and life skills services.


Other events include
May 8

A reception hosted by the Ford Foundation's President Darren Walker, featuring a performance by Bryonn Bain of his acclaimed show Lyrics from Lockdown.

May 9

A conversation with award-winning director Eugene Jarecki and the screening of his documentary The House I Live In, a deeply disturbing portrait of the impact of mass incarceration on communities of color in the US

May 10

A powerful event inside the walls of Ironwood State Prison, featuring the voices of inmates who have taken advantage of education programs.


More Information
  • Read a Q&A with Max Kenner, executive director of the Bard Prison initiative and a participant in the May 8 convening
Follow the conversation at #PrisonEd

New #DonDale facility part of changing approach to dealing with #youth detainees with #education key #PrisonEd

22 August 2017

@silberman1 I joined Neo-Nazi groups and swung them over to Bernie. The Stormer was unimpressive until now. These a……

22 August 2017

#PrisonEd #vocational #training works when #students have right attitude & work it. #BarberRich is proof.…

18 August 2017

#BarberRich #Oshkosh #BacktoSchoolFair @ #OshkoshNorth. A minor local celebrity among students & a success story.……

18 August 2017

Let Prisoners Learn While They Serve #prisoned #collegeinprison #collegenotprison

16 August 2017


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