Center for Prison Education: Fall Book Drive


Wesleyan’s Center for Prison Education created an Amazon Wish List for the books their students will need for the upcoming semester. So far they have received over 150 book donations! 

– As of 9/1 they have topped 200 book donations! – 

Here is a brief history of the Center for Prison Education:

In the fall of 2009, the Center enrolled an inaugural class of 19 men at Cheshire Correctional Institution, a maximum-security facility. Another 54 men have since been admitted and an additional 50 engaged in college prep workshops. In the spring of 2013, the Center expanded to York C.I., the only state women’s facility in Connecticut, admitting an inaugural cohort of 19 women. Students are admitted after a rigorous admissions process. Over 90 women applied to be in the inaugural class at York, while nearly 300 men have applied over the past five years.

Over the past six academic years, the Center has offered nearly 50 classes in subjects ranging from sociology to biology, political theory to calculus. Courses are taught at all levels of instruction. When teaching through the Center, professors change neither the content of their courses nor their expectations of students. More than 100 Wesleyan undergraduates have volunteered with the Center, collaborating closely with incarcerated students as tutors, teaching assistants and peers.

According to the CPE, participating in post-secondary education makes incarcerated individuals 46% less likely to reoffend, while graduating reduces recidivism by an astounding 72%. Despite those incredible promising numbers, the State of Connecticut provides no funding for post-secondary education in prisons. The Center for Prison Education fills a large gap in educational services. To make the program accessible to some of the least-resourced members of our society, CPE provides all classroom materials to incarcerated students for free. 

You can provide books directly for incarcerated students through the Amazon Wish List. The list includes authors such as Ernest J Gaines, Booker T Washington, Virginia Woolf, and William Faulkner and ranges in price from $3.60 to $34.99. 

The books will support students enrolling in some of the following classes this fall: 

At Cheshire:  
  • Order & Planning in Economic Thought with Professor Richie Adelstein
  • Imagining the American South with Professor Sarah Mahurin
  • The Real McCoy: Constructing Identity with Professor Priscilla Meyers
  • The Climate System with Professor Suzanne O’Connell
  • African – American History with Professor Cheryl Greenberg
At York: 
  • College Algebra with Professor Chris Hammond
  • Toca Brazil with Professor Eric Galm

We would like to thank you in advance for supporting the Center for Prison Education. 


Jennifer Roach is the Civic Engagement Fellow in Allbritton for the academic year 2015-2016. She is a recent Wesleyan alumni, class of 2014. Since graduating, she has moved to Hartford to continue developing Summer of Solutions Hartford, an urban farming internship program she worked on during her time at Wesleyan.