College of Human Sciences

Can a Prison-to-College pipeline be built in South Africa?

Pictured is Prof Baz Dreisinger (City University of New York).

The Inside-out Outside-in South African Corrections Interest Group in the College of Human Sciences, hosted a seminar that looked at the possibilities of a Prison-to-College pipeline being built in South Africa? Professor Baz Dreisinger from the City University of New York presented the positive impact the Prison-to-College Pipeline (P2CP) Program has had in America. The P2CP programme endeavours to address the socioeconomic constrictions of recidivism and to engage the teaching, learning and research intents of higher education with the correctional community.

“It is far cheaper educate people, than incarcerate people,” said Professor Dreisinger adding that education is a tool for preventing re-incarceration and is the most powerful weapon to change the world.

The US Prison-to-College pipeline programme focuses on providing university level face-to-face classes in prisons and learning exchanges, whereby students outside would join lectures during their classes in prison. The essence of the programme is within the word “pipeline”, anything that begins inside prison in terms of services must continue outside. It is important to create a re-entry pipeline, which will allow students in prison to adjust into society because of the education that is provided in prison.

“The impact of P2CP is broadly felt”, said the professor, adding that it is not only an academic exercise because the relationship between lectures and students ensures transformation on all fronts. One of their successful students wrote the following: “Thank you to P2CP, you have helped me become a smarter man, father and son”.

The audience who attended the seminar felt that the various academic projects for the incarcerated within Unisa has the potential to achieve what the Prison-to-College programme has achieved globally.

More about Inside-out outside-in

Inside-out outside-in is an inter-disciplinary grouping of South Africans interested in issues relating to Corrections. The group exists to share knowledge and experiences about projects, organisations, research, and theories. They particularly focus on sharing information on initiatives that cross the boundaries between the inside and outside of corrections and deals with the connections and inter-dependencies between inside and out. The group encourages collaborative generation and dissemination of knowledge about prison experiences, circumstances and initiatives. While Inside-out does not manage interventions, it serves as a clearing house for information on initiatives such as the development of tertiary education opportunities for offenders, issues of social reintegration and recidivism after release and issues relating to the families and relatives of offenders. The group hosts and facilitates Corrections related events, distribute books via their books project and encourage group membership.

*By Nomshado Lubisi (CHS communications and marketing)