Jail Education Project

Jail Education Project

Driven by Merrimack College’s Augustinian mission, the Jail Education Project (JEP) is a degree and certificate-bearing program that seeks to build community connections while addressing inequities in higher education. Specializing in short-term incarceration, JEP provides college coursework in jails and pre-release centers in Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolk Counties and supports students pursuing a degree at Merrimack upon release.

By the Numbers

The numbers listed below are as of 2024.

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Courses Taught

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Students Served


Certificates Earned


Degree Candidates

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Credits Conferred

6 Post-Incarceration Students Enrolled in Degree Programs at Merrimack College

Why Jails?

  • Twelve million people rotate through U.S. jails each year – 19 times as many as in prisons
  • High turnover creates many opportunities to intervene in people’s lives
  • Jails house members of our own communities
  • Students often return to homes nearby, where JEP can continue to offer support

Serving Essex, Middlesex & Suffolk Counties

JEP offers 4-credit courses at:

  • Essex County Correctional Facility
  • Essex County Men’s Pre-Release Center
  • Essex County Women in Transition
  • Middlesex House of Correction
  • Middlesex Women’s Pre-Release Center 
  • Suffolk County House of Correction

JEP offers:

  • Associate’s of Arts in Liberal Arts
  • 3-course Certificates in General Studies and Writing & Communication

Post-Incarceration Program

Two affordable, flexible degree pathways with both academic and financial support for post-incarceration students.

Available as an internship or college credit, the JEP Teaching Assistantship is a unique opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to work with Merrimack faculty teaching incarcerated students.

Teach for JEP

Interested in joining the JEP faculty? Apply now.