The Jail Education Project
The Jail Education Project at Merrimack College brings higher education to people incarcerated in our local county jails.
Guided by Merrimack’s Augustinian tradition, the Jail Education Project seeks to build community connections while addressing inequities in higher education.
What We Do
The Jail Education Project provides a number of learning opportunities to incarcerated students, matriculated students, and faculty, including:
At the Essex County Correctional Facility and the Middlesex House of Correction, Merrimack College faculty teach 4-credit introductory and general education courses that can be easily transferred to a degree program. These courses are the same as those taught on campus but are on a condensed, 8-week schedule to accommodate high turnover and to allow students to complete as many classes as possible.
Merrimack College students from all majors have the opportunity to work as teaching assistants (TAs) for faculty teaching at the jails. TA OPPORTUNITIES
The Bridge Program
In the summer of 2021, we are offering a new program that aims to bridge the gap between education during incarceration and the pursuit of a degree. BRIDGE PROGRAM INFO
“Helping these men every step of the way throughout this course and seeing how much it helped them grow as human beings, I finally understood that education is a basic human right that everyone deserves.”
― Jordan, ’22
Teaching Assistant, Middlesex House of Correction
Jails: Serving Our Local Community
While most Higher Education in Prison programs occur in state prisons, where people serve longer sentences and can finish more coursework, The Jail Education Project has developed an educational model that addresses the unique challenges of short-term incarceration in county jails.
- As the gateway to the criminal justice system, jails touch many more lives than state prisons. Twelve million people rotate through U.S. jails each year, 19 times as many as in prisons.
- Because county jails are local, many people are released nearby making Merrimack College well-positioned to offer reentry support and access to local networks.
The Merrimack College Jail Education Project started as a small endeavor in 2017, offering one course per semester in criminology or creative writing at Essex County Correctional Facility in Middleton, Massachusetts. In fall 2019, the project expanded to the Middlesex House of Correction in Billerica, Massachusetts.
Merrimack College Jail Education Project
315 Turnpike Street - Austin Hall 203A
North Andover, MA 01845