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The Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project

Poetry, Classical Literature, African American Literature, Art and the Mind, Multi-Media Art—these are a few of the courses offered to inmates at 12 correctional facilities throughout the state of Alabama. In conjunction with Auburn University in Alabama and the Caroline Marshall Draughton Center for the Arts & Humanities, the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project offers prisoners courses in arts and humanities.


“Through it all, though, through every person who works to make the program possible, the most remarkable individuals are the students.”

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Prison Book Program

Being incarcerated is life changing–no one can disagree with that. What a prisoner chooses to do with his or her time in prison can alter the course of not only their lives, but the lives of loved ones, family, friends and community. Many inmates that are incarcerated lack the basic necessary skills to read or communicate properly. Having access to books can vastly help a prisoner learn reading, writing, math skills as well as engaging higher thinking skills.

What does the Prison Book Program do? It’s mission is to send free books to prisoners. How wonderful is that! 

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Partakers College Behind Bars Education Program

Partakers College Behind Bars program provides opportunities for incarcerated inmates in the state of Massachusetts to obtain four-year college degrees while doing time in prison.

Their mission statement says that Partakers “works to help advance the rehabilitation of inmates and to bridge the divide that separates those inside and outside prison. Through it’s College Behind Bars mentoring program, inmates build trusting relationships, enhance skills critical to completing a college degree, and significantly increase their chances for success when returning to the community.”

Partakers has access to a number of Massachusetts state prisons, serving as a link between prisoners and society. They currently have more than 300 volunteers who enter prisons as mentors and tutors, supporting over 100 prisoners. These prisoners often take on leadership roles inside the walls, as well as outside when they return to their communities.  

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Prison Pet Partnership Program

It has long been thought that animals and pets can have very therapeutic and rehabilitative benefits for humans. The Prison Pet Partnership Program is accomplishing this on several levels.

The Program rescues and trains homeless animals to become service dogs for persons with disabilities. In addition, the Prison Pet Partnership Program operates a boarding and grooming facility where the women inmates at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor, Washington are trained with this vocation upon release.

Many of the women inmates find gainful employment in the pet industry, including Pet Care Technician Certification, levels One and Two, through the American Boarding Kennels Association. In addition to training, boarding and grooming dogs, the women inmates gain clerical skills by working in the office. In order to receive these valuable skills, inmate employees are required to spend a minimum of two years with the Prison Pet Partnership Program, which is located within the walls of the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor.

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Prison Yoga Project

Tattooed prisoners sit in quiet meditation or in yoga poses while incarcerated in prison. Several studies state that inmates that were taught Yoga while in prison were significantly less like to be reincarcerated upon release. This seems to be especially true with substance abuse offenders.

A 2002 study at Seattle’s North Rehabilitation Facility found that the recidivism rate for inmates who took a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat was 56%, a 25% improvement over recidivism rates for the generally inmate population.
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Music In Prisons–The Irene Taylor Trust

One may not think that a creative music project could help with the rehabilitation of prison inmates, yet many, many incarcerated  individuals across the UK have been helped tremendously through the Irene Taylor Trust Music in Prisons project.

In 1995, the Irene Taylor Trust was established in the memory of the late Lord Chief Justice Peter Taylor who had a passion in both music and prison rehabilitation. In 1996, the Trust began it’s work and since that time the Trust has delivered over 170 music projects in over 50 prisons throughout the UK, involving more than 2,000 inmate participants. As many as 10,000 people have had the opportunity to enjoy these musical performances.

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PAWS Cell Dog Training Program


The P.E.T.S (Pawsitive Education Training Solutions) Program, also known as the Cell Dog Program–is to say the least–heart-warming and life-changing. I challenge you to watch the video and not feel tears of warmth, joy, hope and happiness as you watch the stories of both dogs and man realize they have a second chance in society. 


Located within the Kyle Correctional Facility in Austin Texas, the PAWS shelter and Humane Society select timid, abused and neglected dogs to be trained by inmates to become productive and adoptable dogs to the community. 

Inmates must apply and be accepted into the training program and then a professional PAWS dog trainer picks and chooses dogs to be integrated into the six week program. Once the inmates and dog are chosen, they will share their lives together for six weeks–24/7–living, learning and caring for each other.


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Training Wild Horses: Saddle Horse Training Program and Nevada Correctional Facility

The image of a hardened and tattooed prison inmate riding a semi-wild Mustang horse in the deserts of Nevada certainly are not what you would expect to see. Yet, through the Stewart Conservation Camp Saddle Horse Training Program and the Northern Nevada Correctional Facility this unlikely pairing of hardened, imprisoned human and horse are providing worthwhile ranch horses and bringing a sense of self-confidence and worth to prison inmates. 

The Northern Nevada Correctional Center/Stewart Conservation Saddle Horse Training Program is a cooperative partnership between the Bureau of Land Management, the Nevada Department of Corrections and the Nevada Department of Agriculture. 

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The Saint Louis University Prison Program

Behind the closed and locked doors of the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center (ERDCC) in Bonne Terre, Missouri, is the Saint Louis University Prison Program. This is a unique prison education program in that it is Jesuit inspired and not only provides degree programs to incarcerated prisoners, nut also to employees and staff of ERDCC.

Founded in 2008, the Saint Louis University Prison Program began by offering certification in Theological Studies to a mere 15 male prisoners incarcerated at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center. The first class graduated in 2010. And even during these difficult and tumultuous economic times, a grant from the Hearst Foundation in 2010 enabled the Saint Louis University Prison Program to offer an Associate of Arts Degree to both prisoners and prison staff. This is a very generous and heart-felt grant.

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