This issue of Connections highlights the increasing number of programs offered by Jesuit colleges and universities for incarcerated individuals. It’s timely that as our schools increase their programs for this population, a new organization is also developing: the Jesuit Prison Education Network (JPEN).
JPEN is a new initiative of the Society of Jesus, coordinated by Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., the former president of Rockhurst University, who is currently based at Regis University. You will learn about Fr. Curran’s work with both institutions in this issue, as well as other faculty from Jesuit schools who are involved with JPEN.
In this issue’s Government Relations report by Jenny Smulson, you will learn about the history of education for incarcerated individuals in the United States, including the Second Chance Pell program, established during the Obama Administration in 2015.
Prison education programs are beneficial for incarcerated students, as well as members of the college and university communities involved with teaching classes. Christopher Haw, Ph.D., of The University of Scranton, says, “The payoff of the Prison Education Program has been enormous for the University in terms of the students and faculty growth. In light of the Society of Jesus’ Universal Apostolic Preferences, it is a mission-positive experience, extending education to underserved populations, to those who want and need it most, while also enlivening professors’ passion for teaching.”
We hope that you enjoy learning about these programs, and that the start of the Spring 2023 semester is going well for all of our readers.
By Deanna Howes Spiro, Vice President of Communications, AJCU