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

Over fifty courses taught so far, with more coming every year.

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Students Served

Thanks to our community partners, hundreds of students have participated in JEP.

Certificates Earned

Number includes successful completion of our two certificate programs.


Degree Candidates

These JEP students are enrolled in the Merrimack College Associate’s of Arts in Liberal Arts Degree.

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.