Morehouse College is continuing its efforts in maximizing opportunities and prosperity for the underserved.
Since 2020, faculty members affiliated with the HBCU’s Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership (AYCGL) program, have taught courses in the humanities to men and women in prisons or reentry programs in Georgia.
The prison education initiative aims to advocate for criminal justice reform and support those working on behalf of men and women in the prison system. To date, Georgia has an incarceration rate of 968 per 100,000 people, a higher percentage than virtually every independent democracy on earth.
“Compared to the number of incarcerated people in other states, Georgia has an extremely large prison population of > 60,000 men and women, plus thousands more who are on probation or parole,” Morehouse associate professor Kipton E. Jensen wrote in a blog post.
In partnership with Common Good Atlanta, the AYGLC Prison Education Initiative staff offered six humanities classes last year: critical thinking, creative writing, the history of Black entrepreneurship, literature, philosophies of freedom, and the Constitution.
The Prison Teaching Affiliates were Drs. Stephane Dunn, Adrienne Jones, Corrie Claiborne, Keith Hollingsworth, Kipton Jensen, and Winfred Murray, Esq. Courses were taught at Burruss Correction Facility or the METRO Re-entry Program in downtown Atlanta.
With fewer Black instructors in prisons, the teaching affiliates are determined to deliver courses that are engaging but non-judgmental and free of religious proselytizing. Jones believes all people should have access to education while advising that teachers should approach incarcerated students like they would conventional students.
According to Dr. Claiborne, prison education not only fulfills the mission of Morehouse College, it goes hand in hand with working at countering economic disparities.
In addition to classes, the AYGLC Prison Education Initiative wants to launch academic workshops for imprisoned students in Georgia facilities, according to Jensen. Morehouse students are also participating in the mission through an essay exchange program.