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Two Incarcerated Individuals Graduate from Goucher College at MCIW

May 31, 2024

Contact: mark.vernarelli@maryland.gov , latoya.gray@maryland.gov

JESSUP, MD (May 31, 2024) - In a historic first for the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCIW), two incarcerated individuals graduated with bachelor's degrees from Goucher College. The graduation ceremony took place on Friday, May 31st, at MCIW. The graduates received their degrees in American Studies.

Carolyn J. Scruggs, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS), delivered the commencement speech highlighting the significance of this milestone and the impact of educational programs within correctional facilities. She emphasized the importance of education in transforming lives and fostering rehabilitation.

"Goucher College and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services have partnered since 2012 to provide a bachelor's degree program for women at MCIW and men at MCI-J. This partnership has set the standard for quality college education programs in prison," said Secretary Scruggs. "Under the Moore-Miller Administration, this Department is committed to ensuring that we leave no one behind. We know that the power of education can change the trajectory of our incarcerated population's lives and improve their circumstances for when they reintegrate into society."

The Goucher College Prison Education Partnership (GPEP) has demonstrated remarkable success since its inception. It boasts a 95% decrease in student infractions and a recidivism rate of 5.4%, well below the national average of 19% for individuals earning a BA degree while incarcerated. This success is a testament to the commitment and collaboration between Goucher College and the Department.

Janet Johnson, one of the graduates, expressed her gratitude and optimism for the future. "This program has really been awesome. I surprised myself, and now I am looking into getting my master's. This means everything to me," said Johnson.

As the first graduation ceremony for Goucher College at MCIW, this event marks a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to provide higher education opportunities to incarcerated individuals. The Department aims to expand these opportunities, with a goal of having a degree program at every correctional facility in Maryland by 2028 through partnerships with the University System of Maryland and Maryland's Community College network.