The University of Arizona Prison Education Project (PEP) is dedicated to improving the lives of incarcerated citizens. The Prison Education Project began by offering English courses at the Arizona State Prison Complex – Tucson, made possible by the contributions from a single donor who recognized the need in Arizona for access to educational opportunities for our incarcerated neighbors.
In the fall of 2016, Barbara Martinsons provided initial funding for the project and established a long-term goal of achieving credit-bearing course offerings at the local prison. Dr. Marcia Klotz, Department of English, chose this opportunity to craft a new model of education for incarcerated students. Dr. Klotz and her team developed a volunteer model utilizing the teaching expertise and interest of graduate students, led by faculty members to create and offer academic courses within the prison setting. From summer 2017 though spring 2019, we expanded the project offerings to include Anthropology, Communications and Writers Workshop courses.
As interest in topics grew, Dr. Klotz added faculty lectures/discussions in the spring of 2018, expanding from one to two units in spring 2019. Through these lectures hundreds of students have had an opportunity to learn about topics ranging from Astronomy, Poetry and understanding the mystery of Easter Island.
Our art exhibit grew out of one of these lectures. Over the summer of 2019, 116 incarcerated individuals attended workshops on art exhibits, preparing art for exhibit and the process to jury exhibits. The exhibit featuring work from nearly 20 incarcerated artists will be on display at the University of Arizona Museum of Art from Thursday, January 16, 2020 through Sunday, March 29, 2020.
Your support will help this program continue to make an impact in our community. Your gift will help the Prison Education Project continue to develop and provide innovative programming and courses.