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Georgetown University Receives $1 Million to Support Prison Scholars Program

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Today, Georgetown University has announced that its Prison Scholars Program at the DC Jail, the only co-educational prison program in the country, has received a $1 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant will help the program expand to Maryland and begin to develop bachelor's degrees awarded by the university's Georgetown College with coursework in the liberal arts and business. The program, which celebrated the completion of its fall semester on December 17, is working to improve the lives of DC and Maryland residents by educating incarcerated citizens and preparing them to pursue positive roles in their home communities when they return. Fifty DC Jail students, who at times were joined by Georgetown students in their courses, received certificates of achievement at this week's ceremony, with half of the students in the credit-bearing program.

Georgetown President John J. DeGioia, who made the keynote speech at the event, noted the recent words of Pope Francis at an international meeting on prison ministry ? "You cannot talk about paying a debt to society from a jail cell without windows ... No one can change their life if they don't see a horizon."

"My hope is that your time together over this past semester has shown you a new horizon, has provided you with windows into new knowledge and has enabled you to gain a deeper sense of your own authentic self," DeGioia told the prison scholars.

The Prison Scholars Program at the DC Jail is a part of Georgetown's Prisons and Justice Initiative (PJI), one of only a handful of university programs that provide prisoners with the possibility of earning a bachelor's degree. Courses taught through this program include PJI Director Marc Howard's Prisons and Punishment; Personal Finance with Michael G. Ryan, a professor of the practice at Georgetown College and chief financial officer of Equity Group Holdings; and The Philosophy of Law with Judith Lichtenberg, a Georgetown philosophy professor.

"The Scholars Program has provided access to higher education to incarcerated men and women at the DC Jail," said Marc Howard, Director of the Prisons and Justice Initiative at Georgetown. "Support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will allow us to expand this work by reaching even more incarcerated individuals, making families stronger and communities safer."

The Prison Scholars Program also includes a writing center and a weekly lecture series, with speakers that have included media personality Kim Kardashian West; Georgetown sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson; Mélisande Colomb, a Descendant of the more than 270 enslaved individuals sold by Maryland Jesuits in 1838; and Georgetown assistant professor of government Jamil Scott.

"With the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Georgetown is going to educate the next generation of formerly-incarcerated leaders who will help to reverse the policies that trapped them," said Joshua Miller, Director of Education for the Prisons and Justice Initiative.

The Prisons and Justice Initiative also includes:

The Pivot Program, in collaboration with Georgetown's McDonough School of Business and the D.C. Department of Employment Services, which accepts a selective class of formerly incarcerated DC residents for a rigorous, paid, 10-month program aimed at reentry and employment.

The MORCA-Georgetown Paralegal Program, is a partnership with the DC Mayor's Office on Returning Citizen Affairs, Georgetown, and a host of prestigious Washington law firms. The program trains previously incarcerated men and women.

The Prison Reform Project, a Georgetown course for which students were able to help free a wrongfully convicted man in 2018.

PJI Pals, a Georgetown student mentoring program that helps children between the ages of 8 and 18 with an incarcerated parent or parents.

Internship Matching Program, which partners with a number of prison reform organizations in the DC area offering internship opportunities to college-aged students.


About Georgetown University:

Established in 1789 by Archbishop John Carroll, Georgetown is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the United States. Located in Washington DC, Doha, Qatar, and around the world, Georgetown University is a leading academic and research institution, offering a unique educational experience that prepares the next generation of global citizens to lead and make a difference in the world. For more information about Georgetown University, visit Georgetown.edu or connect with Georgetown on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.


SOURCE Georgetown University

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