Saint Louis University Prison Program

Through the St. Louis University (SLU)  Prison Program, offenders and corrections officers at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Corrections Center (ERDCC) in Bonne Terre have the opportunity to earn a college degree. The William Randolph Hearst Foundation has awarded a $150,000 grant to the SLU Prison Program to fund the degree program. The classes are taught at ERDCC by SLU staff and adjunct professors. It will take students four years to complete the program, at which point they will be conferred a fully accredited degree.

Articles related to education in prison:

by Kenneth Parker:

"What I Learned about Learning in Prison"

"Saint Louis University Prison Initiative"

"Who Are You?" (GED Graduation Address, Eastern District Diagnostic and Correctional Center, August 11, 2009)

by Students and Professors:

"Bonne Terre Graduation Speech" (by Dr. Grant Kaplan)

"Behind Barbed Wire" and Response (by Dr. Ronald Modras and Chris Simmons, Universitas)

Graduation Address, (by Raymond Scott, incarcerated student)

News Releases:

"Too Long Ignored" (by Bob Herbert, NYT)

"SLU Degree Program Pairs Guards and Inmates" (by Tim Barker, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"SLU Professor Aims to Help Inmates" (Fox 2 News - Video)

"SLU Beginning Degree Program for Offenders, Staff at Prison in Bonne Terre"
(by Chris Cline, Daily Journal)

"SLU Gets $150,000 for In-Prison Classes
(St. Louis Business Journal)

"Teaching in the Pokey" (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

"Doing Time, With a Degree to Show for It" (by Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, The Chronicle of Higher Education)

"States Help Ex-Inmates Find Jobs" (by Steven Greenhouse, NYT)

"Misplaced Priorities: Over Incarcerate, Under Educate" (NAACP Report)

"State of Recidivism: The Revolving Doors of America's Prisons" (The Pew Center on the States)

"The Root: We Can't Afford To Not Fix Justice System" (by Benjamin Todd Jealous and Lateefah Simon, NPR)

"Study praises efforts in Missouri, Kansas to cut prison recidivism" (by Mike Morris, The Kansas City Star)

"Limited Education Behind Bars" (by Kevin Kiley, Inside Higher Ed)

"Unlocking Potential: Results of a National Survey of Postsecondary Education in State Prisons" (by Lauar E. Gorgol and Brian A. Sponsler, Institute for Higher Education Policy)

"In Prison, College Courses Are Few" (by Kevin Helliker, The Wall Street Journal)

"Report Describes Limits of Inmates' Access to College Education" (by Lauren Sieben, The Chronicle of Higher Education)

"Students of Mass Incarceration Nation" (by Katayoon Majd, Howard Law Journal)

"A Nation of Jailers" (by Glenn Loury, Cato Unbound)

"Prison Library Offers A Place To Escape" (by NPR Staff, NPR)

"Inside San Quentin, Inmates Go To College" (by Richard Gonzalez, NPR)

"From Ball and Chain to Cap and Gown: Getting a BA Behind Bars" and "How to Succeed in Business by Really, Really Trying" (by Paul Soloman, PBS News Hour)

Other Education Programs
College and Community Fellowship

Recommended Reading:

Lamb, Wally, et al. Couldn't Keep It to Myself: Wally Lamb and the Women of the York Correctional Institution (Testimonies from our Imprisoned Sisters) New York: Harper Perennial, 2004.

Lamb, Wally. I'll Fly Away: Further Testimonies from the Women of York Prison. New York: Harper Perennial, 2008.

White, Neil. In the Sanctuary of Outcasts: A Memoir. New York: Harper Perennial, 2010.

An inmate at the Eastern Reception Diagnostic and
Correctional Center in Bonne Terrace, a maximum
security state prison, listens during a class on "Jesus
and Salvation" offered by Saint Louis University's
Department of Theological Studies.

Grant Kaplan, Ph.D., assistant professor of theology,
leads a class discussion at the Eastern Reception,
Diagnostic and Corrections Center in May. Kaplan was among
the theology faculty to teach at the state maximum
security prison through the SLU Prison Program.