Leveraging Inspiring Futures Through Educational Degrees
UCI is launching the first in-prison BA-degree completion program in the University of California system: LIFTED, Leveraging Inspiring Futures Through Educational Degrees. Building on partnerships between state prisons and community colleges, established in the state in 2014, LIFTED will enable incarcerated individuals to apply to transfer into UCI as juniors and earn a bachelor’s degree from UCI while serving their sentence. California’s Master Plan envisioned that “anyone from anywhere in California” could access a world-class education. LIFTED is realizing this dream, supporting eligible incarcerated students in matriculating to UCI.
At least 95 percent of all prisoners will eventually be released, but many lack the tools to compete in today’s job market, let alone to pursue professional or graduate degrees. Earning a UC BA degree would open these doors, increasing public safety and economic returns. Higher education is one of the most effective interventions for both reducing recidivism and preparing people to contribute to their communities. According to a recent RAND report, every $1 invested in prison education generates $5 in economic returns for society. Moreover, education is a powerful tool to mitigate the systemic discrimination and de-humanization of mass incarceration.
Southwestern College (SWC) in Chula Vista has been a state leader, offering face-to-face AA-degree coursework, which is transferrable to the University of California, to students who are currently incarcerated.
LIFTED is a demonstration project, designed to be replicated through UC-prison partnerships across the state’s 35 prisons. Your investment today will support the first cohort of 25 transfer students who have been admitted to UCI (contingent on completing summer coursework) from Richard J. Donovan Prison and also usher in a wave of prison and education reform throughout the state.