College in Prison Program
At Donnelly, we are proud to offer an on-site associate degree program to the inmates of Lansing Correctional Facility in Lansing, Kansas.
Donnelly began offering classes at our Lansing Correctional Facility satellite campus in 2001.
- 399 inmates who have taken courses since 2001
- 34 Lansing students who have earned associate degrees
Why Is This Program Needed?
Earning a college degree is the single most effective tool to lower recidivism and to prevent individuals from returning to a life of crime after their release. In the United States, 70% of all inmates released will be arrested again within 5 years (backgroundcheck.com). Prisoners who participate in any kind of education program results in a 43% reduction in overall recidivism (Rand.org). With a college degree, recidivism drops to only 19% (US Sentencing Commission).
Saves Taxpayer Dollars
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics the United States spends roughly $80 billion dollars per year to incarcerate roughly 2.3 million people -- many of which have returned to prison after being unable to find opportunity and employment after their release. With educated individuals exiting the prison system and experiencing a much lower recidivism rate, billions of dollars will be saved.
With fewer individuals returning to a life of crime, we will produce a healthier and safer community for all.
A Vision for the Future
Providing inmates with an education creates self-sufficiency and self-confidence as they start to realize a better path in life and gain the necessary skills to attain it.
Our Program in the Press
- Donnelly Digest cover story (Winter 2022): Against All Odds
- The Leaven Catholic Newspaper: Donnelly changes lives behind bars
- The Leaven: Math, business teachers needed for college outreach to inmates
How We Provide This Opportunity
"I told myself when I got to prison, I would do better. I have now obtained an associate degree and am working on a bachelor's degree. I am grateful for the support from KDOC facilitators and the Donnelly instructors."
Andrew Claude, '22 graduate
"If it could be summed up in one word, [this program] gives us opportunity.... Having the opportunity to not lose those years — to be able to walk out and do something — the appreciation can't be said."
"For me, college was a chance to prove that I would be able to pick myself back up after such a terrible mistake. Donnelly not only provided me with the opportunity to develop my academic potential, but also the opportunity to be a better person."
"Graduation was one of the greatest days of my life. My self-esteem has soared, and I truly believe I can accomplish any goal. Furthermore, my education has drawn me closer to my family and friends. My children look up to me now."
We strive to make our program accessible to inmates by asking that they pay only one third of the hourly tuition fee. Donnelly College raises the remaining two thirds of the tuition costs in scholarships from private patrons.
Donnelly is also proud to participate in the U.S. Department of Education's Second Chance Pell program.
This program creates educational opportunities for incarcerated students by providing need-based Federal Pell Grants to individuals enrolled in post-secondary programs offered by approved colleges and universities. Before the current expansion, just 63 schools in 26 states had been invited to participate. Those institutions were awarded approximately $36.2 million in Federal Pell Grants during the first two years of the program. In that time, 11,750 students received Federal Pell Grants and, after three years, 4,000 post-secondary degrees and credentials have been awarded to those students. Donnelly College is one of only 67 new institutions chosen from more than 180 schools that applied to be added this year.
Donnelly College has a nineteen-year history of working closely with the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) and the Lansing Correctional Facility (LCF) administration to provide college-level educational programs to Lansing inmates.
In fall 2019, when KDOC began working with the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) to develop a coordinated strategy to provide postsecondary educational programs at correctional facilities across Kansas, Donnelly was invited to become a charter member of the newly formed Kansas Consortium for Correctional Higher Education (KCCHE). Although private colleges are not governed by KBOR, Donnelly was included in the consortium based on our long standing commitment to our Lansing students and our excellent relationship with LCF.
In addition to establishing new educational pathways through KCCHE, Donnelly will continue to encourage LCF students to continue their education after release on our main campus, either completing their associate degree or enrolling in Donnelly's bachelor's program. Donnelly provides admissions, financial aid, tutoring and career services support to ensure that LCF students successfully transition to campus-based programs after release.
Donnelly's longstanding commitment to providing postsecondary educational programming at LCF is an extension of our mission of "providing education and community services with personal concern for the needs and abilities of each student, especially those who might not otherwise be served." Our financial aid staff has extensive experience administering federal Pell grants and we have a number of experienced and dedicated instructors who have taught in the LCF program for many years.
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