Wesleyan Center for Prison Education
WHAT IS THE CPE?
Since 2009, Wesleyan University’s Center for Prison Education has offered college courses to incarcerated students in Connecticut state prisons. Through our program, students at York CI and Cheshire CI can complete rigorous coursework in pursuit of an Associate degree through our public partner, Middlesex Community College, and subsequently a Wesleyan Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies. Many of our students will complete their degrees while incarcerated. However, for those people who leave prison before earning a credential, CPE is committed to supporting their successful transition and degree completion.
WHAT IS THE RE-ENTRY FUND?
Since our program began, over sixty students have been released and rejoined their communities. In the last year alone, ten program alumni came home to a landscape drastically altered by the coronavirus pandemic. As of November 2020, between five and ten others are preparing to come home within the next few years. People in re-entry face considerable challenges, and often experience difficulty meeting material needs like finding employment and securing housing. Even those who came home prior to the pandemic are suffering from its consequences, facing losses of income and new limits on their access to essential resources. We are establishing the Re-entry Fund to help all of our former students meet their short-term needs and ultimately support their pursuit of long-term goals.
Re-entry support for people returning from prison across the state of Connecticut is frequently siloed by program area (i.e., employment, housing, transportation, health and wellness), and resources are distributed unevenly among municipalities and correctional facilities. In addition, people coming home navigate a patchwork of service providers, public infrastructure, and community support to meet their emergent and on-going needs.
While we recognize that CPE’s primary mandate is to provide degree-bearing access to a college education, we also understand that a complete postsecondary experience must include a more holistic approach to supporting our students on both sides of prison walls. As the rate at which our students are released continues to increase, we establish this Fund to expand the personal approach that has characterized our program. People transitioning home face diverse and manifold challenges and opportunities, and the flexibility of the Fund allows CPE to assist students on a case-by-case basis.
WHAT WE COVER
In consultation with program alumni, who have generously shared their experiences of reentry with us, we have developed the following funding criteria. In order to meet non-recurring costs not easily covered by existing programs or infrastructure, CPE's Re-entry Fund will provide means to any former CPE students upon application to support costs which may include:
-School entrance fees
-Technology (computer, phone)
-Initial move-in costs
-Job training program costs
WHAT WE DON'T COVER
-Recurring cost-of-living expenses (monthly rent, monthly groceries, utilities)
WHO WE ARE
Read first-hand testimonials from some of our released students about the challenges they have faced during the re-entry process. To see more, please visit our Instagram @cpe_reentry.
WAYS TO GIVE
By contributing to the Re-Entry fund, you can help the CPE fulfill its promise to support our students both inside and outside of prison walls. Your donation of any amount will have a direct and significant impact on a student's life.
HOW TO DONATE
To donate, please click below and make a contribution designated to the CPE. After you submit your payment information, there will be a final page where you can make a comment about where to direct your donation. Please write in "Re-entry Fund".
SPREAD THE WORD
If you are not able to contribute financially, please help us spread the word. Share this website, and follow @cpe_reentry on Instagram and share our posts!