Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $640,435)
ACE PREP will expand and improve postsecondary correctional education at three correctional units in Southeastern Arkansas in order to improve post-release outcomes and to address the high rate of recidivism in Arkansas. The program, offering two Associate degree pathways, will increase student capacity by at least 75% and will improve the existing curriculum in the following ways: (1) Infuse the standard curriculum with Thinking for a Change, a cognitive behavioral therapy program targeting criminogenic thinking and behavior; (2) Create a Reentry and Career Development course to provide students with the skills and tools needed to successfully transition into post-release life, (3) Include students into an established reentry service provider database to begin post-release activities during incarceration, and to create a warm connection between students and post-release service providers, (4) Improve student assessment for enrollment with the addition of a student essay and interview, and (5) Increase student access to: library facilities, classroom instruction, and remote instruction.
The metrics and outcomes of ACE PREP will be evaluated and the information shared with a consortium of Second Chance Pell programs throughout Arkansas to provide a framework for similar expansion and curriculum development throughout the state. The African American and Black incarcerated population greatly exceeds their respective state population in Arkansas and ACE PREP addresses this issue by ensuring student demographics match those in the correctional units it serves.