Written by Lucero Benitez, COSS Communications Specialist

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation awarded Project Rebound at Fresno State a $136,400 grant to provide pre-college preparatory programming at a prison in Taft. Fresno State will coordinate with staff at nearby California State University, Bakersfield, in delivering the program.

Project Rebound, a support program for students who were formerly incarcerated, has been offered at Fresno State since fall 2016. The program was originally established in the late 1960s at San Francisco State University and has expanded to eight other California State University campuses.

One component of the program is to conduct outreach in jails and prisons to inform those who are studying while incarcerated of the process and requirements to later apply to a CSU campus.

“I believe that this award represents a great new opportunity for Fresno State to have an impact in broadening horizons and expanding possibilities for people currently in prison,” said Dr. Emma Hughes, chair of the Department of Criminology at Fresno State.

In fall 2018, the CSU Project Rebound Consortium applied for a competitive Innovative Program Grant from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to formalize its outreach and offer a four-session, pre-college orientation and advising program within prisons. Fresno State took the lead on the application on behalf of four other Project Rebound sites, including CSU Bakersfield, and received a grant to operate in the Taft Modified Community Correctional Facility.

The grant will be used over the course of three years. Fresno State is one of eight first-time recipients of the grant.

“Fresno State’s Project Rebound will coach former inmates on how to overcome academic and non-academic barriers to success,” said Dr. Robert Harper, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at Fresno State. “The project provides a robust reentry pathway that should reduce recidivism, allowing participants the opportunity to become contributing members of society and making for stronger, safer communities for us all.”

Hughes is grateful for everyone involved in the application and writing for the grant.

“Our goal is to assist those who are seeking to transform their lives through education to find the tools that will help them in this process,” Hughes said. “Research shows that education in prison and post-release is one of the best ways to reduce recidivism. Ultimately, this program seeks to help individuals and strengthen communities. We hope to expand the program to other facilities in the future.”