In a forum hosted by the College of Social Sciences, Dr. Monica Summers, an assistant professor in the Department of Criminology at Fresno State, proposed a program that would allow criminology students and faculty to tutor inmates in the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) on Jan. 30.
Summers said the program would help inmates and students alike. The program would accelerate students “by more than one full grade level in a single semester,” according to Summers.
There are also “non-academic benefits, such as reduction of prison violence, higher self-esteem and greater optimism for the future,” Summers said.
Summers shared research which indicated that women “who complete their education while they’re in prison” get a “sense of self-efficacy and self-accountability.”
The project will take some time to develop, as any volunteer tutors will need to be cleared by prison security.
Summers also proposed a grant to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation which would help fund the program. If the grant is approved, Fresno State students could expect this opportunity to become an internship in fall 2019.
Summers expects this program to change the lives of many women. As an inmate has told her before, “education opens people’s eyes to a whole new world.”