The 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.