Leveraging Inspiring Futures Through Educational Degrees
In the Fall of 2022, UCI launched 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 enables 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.
Twenty-five incarcerated students at Richard J. Donovan state prison are currently in their third quarter as UCI students, earning BA degrees in Sociology. In Fall 2022 and Winter 2023, 60% of these students made the Dean’s Honor Roll. Just a few weeks ago, a second cohort of 20 incarcerated students received UCI admissions offers for the Fall of 2024. Your investment today will ensure that these 45 incarcerated transfer students have access to resources (such as books, counseling, and tutoring) comparable to those for other UC students.
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 opens 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. LIFTED seeks to not only educate incarcerated students at Donovan prison but to support replication projects throughout UCs in other state prisons. Your investment today will not only support LIFTED’s 45 incarcerated transfer students, but will also usher in a wave of prison and education reform throughout the state.