Georgia is one of the states with the highest per capita rates of imprisonment worldwide, but opportunities to pursue college degrees while incarcerated in the state have remained relatively few since the ban on Pell Grants for people in prison in 1994. In 2020, the percentage of people leaving GA state prisons who had a Bachelor’s degree was 1.03%. By comparison, the US Census Bureau estimated that 31.3% of the total population of Georgians over 25 had a Bachelor’s degree. When people leave prison, they face a host of obstacles to continuing and completing their degrees. These limitations have implications for millions of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people in the state, but also for their children, their neighbors, and their communities.
At the same time, people in prison and formerly incarcerated people regularly overcome these obstacles and earn degrees during and after their incarceration. GACHEP is made up of students, faculty, alumni, and administrators of higher education programs in prisons in the state who have witnessed this success firsthand and are committed to making sure it is available to others. We believe education is a right, and we believe people impacted by the prison system deserve the same opportunities as others to learn, grow, teach, and lead in their communities.
To that end, GACHEP aims to provide people in prison and those who have left prison in Georgia with high-quality educational pathways from pre-college coursework to accredited degree completion. To build these pathways, GACHEP advocates for policy that expands access to higher education; supports people through their college journey, from applying to matriculating and graduating; grows networks of formerly incarcerated people, Universities, and other nonprofits who support this mission; and connects people who have left prison to resources in education, housing, transportation, healthcare, and employment. GACHEP is co-led by students and alumni of higher education in prison programs and administrators and faculty of those programs.
If you are interested in joining the coalition as a member or if you represent an organization that would like to do so, please click here to complete our new member survey.
If you are formerly incarcerated or at a Georgia Transitional Center and would like support in pursuing higher education in Georgia, please complete this survey.
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