Prison Teaching Initiative – Pace Center – Princeton University

Prison Teaching Initiative – Pace Center – Princeton University

Princeton University is a very prestigious, well-known, and highly respected learning establishment. An off-shoot from Princeton is the Pace Center for Civic Engagement which supports efforts by undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, and alumni to become engaged citizens and to help address issues of public concern. The goal is to build stronger communities and societies throughout the world.

There are several aspects to the Pace Center that provide opportunities to the above-mentioned in direct volunteer services, political action, public service internship, and volunteer teaching and tutoring.

The Pace Center is dedicated to education, innovation, and excellence in public service and advances the elements of active citizenship-

And from this volunteer teaching service provided by the Pace Center for Civic Engagement and Princeton University comes the Prison Teaching Initiative. The Prison Teaching Initiative is composed of volunteers that include Princeton faculty, graduate students, and staff that teach credit-bearing college courses to incarcerated prisoner students in New Jersey correctional facilities.

Each instructor that teaches for the Prison Teaching Initiative, must hold at least an M.A. in the subject that they are teaching. Each teacher/volunteer prepares detailed class plans and notes, grades homework and exams, and must prepare all of the written material used in the courses taught.

The program includes lessons at the Garden State Youth Correctional Facility in Yardville, NJ, and at the Edna Mahan Correctional Center for Women in Clinton, NJ. Currently, classes taught at these two correctional facilities include pre-algebra, algebra, English, and biology.

In addition to the Prison Teaching Initiative, is the Petey Greene Assistance Program. This program also sends Princeton University undergraduates and graduates to serve as teachers and tutors at the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility in Bordentown, NJ. Here the staff helps teach English as a Second Language, art history, remedial writing, poetry, and other basic-level educational courses. Students then receive a certificate for their participation.

What a wonderful and giving gift for undergraduate and graduate students to share their knowledge and experience with incarcerated prisoners–again giving hope, increasing self-esteem, and helping to reduce the chances of recidivism.