Texas Prison Education Initiative

Texas Prison Education Initiative at UT Giving

Support the Texas Prison Education Initiative's efforts to bring college classes to prisons in Central Texas. Please write "Texas Prison Education Initiative" where it asks to "Please enter any special information about your gift".

Texas Prison Education Initiative at UT Giving

Help us change lives.

By providing incarcerated juveniles and adults with access to a high-quality college education, we are hoping to build a prison-to-college pipeline.

Help us change lives.

The Texas Prison Education Initiative (TPEI)

We are a group of faculty and graduate students who volunteer teach and tutor in prisons and jails in Texas. Our goal is to provide incarcerated juveniles and adults access to high-quality, free college education. The Texas Prison Education Initiative (TPEI) was founded in 2017 to provide outstanding liberal arts education to Texans living behind bars.

We began teaching our first class, Sociology 302: Introduction to the Study of Society, at Gardner Betts Juvenile Detention Center, in 2018. We have since expanded our course offerings, and are now teaching Social Problems at Gardener Betts, Introduction to Sociology at Lockhart Correctional Facility, and a College Prep class at Lockhart Correctional Facility. We are planning to continue to expand our course offerings to include a wide range of classes at facilities throughout the state. Through an agreement with University of Texas Extension Office, our students are earning transferable college credit that will help jump-start their degrees. We also offer GED tutoring in prisons and jails.

Why prison teaching?

Approximately 95 percent of all inmates will be released to their communities. Research from college prison programs across the U.S. shows that prisoners who participate in college programs are almost 50% less likely than their peers to return to prison after their release. Moreover, for those who remain in prison, access to higher education provides intellectual engagement, a positive social network, and a support system.

How to get involved

If you are interested in learning more about our program and helping build a prison-to-college pipeline in Texas, please contact us at tpei@prc.utexas.edu.

We are seeking financial support to cover the costs of course fees, books, and other classroom materials. Although all instructors teach for free, offering an increasing number of college classes comes with costs we cannot fully cover on our own. If you are interested in donating, contributions can be made directly at https://utdirect.utexas.edu/apps/utgiving/online/nlogon/?menu=LAPI.

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TPEI training photo

TPEI training

Who We Are