Marietta, Georgia, January 24, 2019 – On January 28, 2019, 11 students who are incarcerated at Lee Arrendale State Prison, a maximum security women’s prison in Alto, Georgia, will graduate with an Associate of Arts degree in Positive Human Development and Social Change (PHDSC) from Life University (LIFE), based in Marietta, Georgia. The students have earned an average, cumulative GPA of 3.9, and all will go on to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. They have also become dedicated teachers and mentors, supporting one another and sharing what they have learned with their incarcerated peers, as well as their own families.
This event represents a shift in the landscape of higher education and prison reform in Georgia. This will be the first class of students in a Georgia State Women’s Prison to graduate from an accredited college degree program since 1994 when Pell Grants were banned for incarcerated people as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. They will also be the first to graduate from an accredited degree program offered by a college or university based in Georgia in any prison in the state since that time – only New Orleans Baptist Seminary has provided accredited college degree programs to people in men’s prisons in Georgia since 1994.
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