UMA Prison Ed Partnership logoThe University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) has provided educational services to Maine State Prison residents since 2006. Working closely with the Department of Corrections (DOC), we have continued to expand to four additional locations: Mountain View Correctional Facility, Bolduc Correctional Facility, Southern Maine Women’s Reentry Center, and the Maine Correctional Center. To date, we have awarded 160 UMA degrees. In 2020, the Prison Education Partnership (PEP) was established to continue enhancing academic access and success for those in the carceral system through collaborations with both internal and external partners, building a statewide coalition in support of justice-impacted scholars.

We believe that education is pivotal in transforming lives, promoting success, and reducing the likelihood of recidivism. More than half of formerly incarcerated individuals will return to prison by five years post-release. Proudly, the recidivism rate for those enrolled in our university is under 5%. Many of our students have gone on to continue their education, embark on meaningful career paths, and participate in civic engagement both pre- and post-release. We have seen firsthand the transformative power of education and we commit ourselves to providing a platform that unlocks the potential for personal and professional success.

We work closely with students, campus offices, and outside organizations to reduce financial and systemic barriers to higher education. Thanks to the generosity and commitment of the Maine Department of Corrections, the Doris Buffett Sunshine Lady Foundation, UMA’s Chance for Change scholarship, and participating in the Second Chance Pell program, we have been able to offer educational opportunities to those residing in DOC facilities. Recently we have been awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Future of Higher Learning in Prison grant, which enables us to further improve our technological infrastructure, hire support staff for PEP, expand educational and professional opportunities for students, and more.

For more information, please contact the PEP office at umapep@maine.edu.

Meet the Team

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Amanda Nowak

Director of Prison Education Partnership

Dr. Amanda Nowak is the Director of the Prison Education Partnership for the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA), a new Mellon-funded role designed to centralize, standardize, and improve the oversight of UMA programming for currently and formerly incarcerated students.  Amanda earned her doctorate in Developmental Psychology from the University of Notre Dame where she … Read More
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Kimberly Snider

Administrative Specialist CL3

Kimberly Snider is the Administrative Specialist of the Prison Education Partnership for the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA).  Her role includes assisting the Director in clerical tasks, student and office support, and special projects to improve programming for currently and formerly incarcerated students. Kimberly earned her BS in Justice Studies from UMA with minors … Read More