‘Education vs. incarceration’ is Nov. 3

Michael Dotson and the Project Rebound team will speak about “Education as an Alternative to Incarceration” Friday, Nov. 3, from 10 a.m. to noon in the Cerro Coso Community College gym.

The talk will outline Cal State Bakersfield’s program that aims to help formerly incarcerated individuals obtain degrees.

Project Rebound was created by John Irwin, 1929-2010, as a way to matriculate people into San Francisco State University directly from the criminal justice system.

Irwin served a five-year term in Soledad Prison for a 1952 armed robbery. During his time in prison he earned 24 college credits through a university extension program.

After his release, he earned a bachelor of arts from UCLA, a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, and then served as a professor of sociology and criminology at San Francisco State University for 27 years, during which he became known internationally as an expert in the U.S. prison system.

Since Project Rebound’s inception, hundreds of formerly incarcerated people have obtained degrees. The most recent data available indicate that the number of Project Rebound students at San Francisco State who returned to prison was just 3 percent.

Believing education is a viable alternative to incarceration, the program expanded in 2016 beyond San Francisco State into eight other CSU campuses. CSU Bakersfield is a part of the exciting new consortium of programs.

Cerro Coso Community College is offering courses in two prisons. Participants will be given an opportunity to hear from Cerro Coso instructors about their experiences inside the prisons as well as from students who have made the journey through education with Project Rebound.

This event is free and open to the public. Parking fees will not be enforced during the event. To learn more, call 760-384-6250.

Story First Published: 2017-11-03