Contact Us

For inquiries about your student:
Denise Justice
419.289.5732
djustic2@ashland.edu

For inquiries about our program:
Gary Pember
419.207.6263
cep-outreach@ashland.edu

For all other inquiries:
419.207.6922
au-cep@ashland.edu

Share Your Story

Share your story

Tell us about your experience as a student in Ashland University's Correctional Education Program.

Contact Us

Contact Us

For inquiries about your student:
Denise Justice
419.289.5732
djustic2@ashland.edu

For inquiries about our program:
Gary Pember
419.207.6263
cep-outreach@ashland.edu

For all other inquiries:
419.207.6922
au-cep@ashland.edu

Share Your Story

Share Your Story

Share your story

Tell us about your experience as a student in Ashland University's Correctional Education Program.

 

Ashland is important to me because it helped me accomplish something in my life. I was able to get a degree that I would have never gotten if I would have been at home. It has helped my parents be proud of me for doing something worthwhile while being incarcerated. It feels like I actually did something with my time in jail this time instead of just lagging around. I will be going for my bachelor’s degree as well. I appreciate Mr. Lewis and the Ashland staff for helping me to have a purpose in my life, besides doing time.

- S.J., Louisiana Transitional Center for Women, Louisiana

Ashland University is providing something to offenders that we all want to be recipients of: Grace! Receiving something that you really don't deserve. But then again, who really does? I am honored to serve in a capacity to help facilitate this beacon of hope.

- Dr. Derald Jones, AU Associate Director of Georgia Programs

Ashland University allows students a positive avenue to re-entry success. Acquiring a tangible knowledge base through coursework as well as intangibles by improving their thought process provides another link to a positive life on the outside of the prison walls. Additionally, Ashland University commitment to offering a transformative, learning experience with a commitment to leading with integrity and serving others not only ensures that these students are gaining tools to become upstanding citizens but are working with faculty and staff who share the same commitment. We look forward to our continued partnership.

- Ernest Mack, Principal, Richland Correctional Institution

Ashland University has been a God-send to me. It gave me a sense of purpose in order to move forward with my education so I can be a benefit to thers. It helped me discover my creative side and my ability to multi-task. I am so thankful for the chance that I have been given; the chance to be able to accomplish something so rewarding during my incarceration.

- J.S., Louisiana Transitional Center for Women, Louisiana

The difference the AU program makes in the lives of the students is absolutely incredible. The AU program gives the students the ability to focus on thriving rather than surviving.

- Cameron Midkiff, AU Site Director, Mount Olive Correctional Complex, Mt. Olive, WV

The Ashland University Correctional Education Program has only been in place a short time in Arkansas, but I can already see a change in the students after completing just one semester. The students have hope for their future and feel like they are making their families proud of them again.

- Linda Smith, AU Site Director, North Central Unit, Calico Rock, AR

I would like to thank Ashland University and this program for giving me this opportunity to better myself. It is because of Ashland that I will leave here with an Associate's degree and have a promising future. No one said it was going to be easy to find a job, but, with education, it will not be impossible to be successful in today’s society. Furthermore, I just want to thank you all for giving me a second chance at life.

- M.A., Student, Richland Correctional Institution, Ohio

To say that I am thankful for this inmate education program would be grossly undermining the relevance of education on changing one's life. For this, I want to acknowledge the activist who has taken the journey to bring education into existence in the prison system. I also want to thank the prison population for being strong enough to stand for furthering our educational journey. I want to give a special thanks to Ashland University and its staff for taking a leap of faith in providing the skill of education that will affect generations to come.

- W.W., Richland Correctional Institute

Other than my family, Ashland University gave me something to focus on. It kept my mind off of other negative surrounding matters and became my excuse to stay out of trouble. Ashland University also became a big part of my incarceration and helped my time progress along smoothly. I am very grateful and thankful for their support.

- D.W., Richland Correctional Institution, Ohio

I have seen students get their GED and go into Ashland afterwards and you can see the change in their body language in a positive way through the steps, it is a great way to boost their morale and show them they can achieve something more!

- Corrections Officer, Anonymous

The men at Stillwater who have been able to participate in higher education while incarcerated who have gotten out were able to apply what they learned to their lives, and this allowed them to STAY OUT! Not just that, they were able to encourage younger people to attend college (outside of these prison walls).

- F.L., Minnesota Correctional Facility - Stillwater, Minnesota

Thank you for making this opportunity possible. Coming to prison not only has changed but also saved my life. I would have never thought about being a college student. You take hopeless drug addicts and give them a future. You take the outcasts of society like murderers, prostitutes, drug dealers, and robbers and give them a chance to make their life meaningful. Lastly, and most important, you help individuals that everyone has deemed as a nobody, to see their true potential and become what they were destined to be.

- M.S., Pulaski State Prison, Georgia

This is a day nearly 30 years in the making. I began at Cleveland State in 1989, then Ashland in the ’90s. I am grateful to Ashland University for this opportunity.

- M.B., Richland Correctional Institution, Ohio

When I began this education journey, I knew that to become the person I wanted to be, I needed to change that person I was at that particular time. Luckily, there are great organizations like Ashland University that believe education is not for just the few fortunate individuals but for everyone everywhere. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the fine individuals at Ashland University who have given me the opportunity to become the man our Creator meant for me to be.

- J.M., Richland Correctional Institution, Ohio

Our program at Ashland gives students hope and opportunity. They quickly realize they CAN do this and better their lives when they return to society. The transformation of these students is amazing! Their self- confidence increases with each semester they complete. They are not only gaining knowledge and degrees from our program at Ashland, they are gaining self- worth and determination. All the students at my facility have become a family, and extended family of AU Eagles.

- Jaimie Green, AU Site Director, Whitworth Women's Detention Center, Hartwell, GA

I have a student who has been down 40+ years who has never used a cell phone before let alone a tablet/computer. This man comes over every week to tell me of the new things he has learned or to ask a question about something he cannot figure out and the look on his face is what this program is about, a man who has had limited opportunities to better himself excited to have the opportunity to better not only his education level but his working knowledge of technology.

- Seth Howard, AU Site Director, Lake Erie Correctional Institution, Conneaut, OH

Ashland University is extremely important to me because it is a major accomplishment in my life that makes my family proud of me. As a mother, it gives my daughters something to look up to and be proud of. Ashland University gives me a sense of accomplishment and a sense of self-worth; raising my self-esteem.

- S.M., Louisiana Transitional Center for Women, Louisiana

My son graduated with his AA degree this past May with a GPA of 3.93 and is fortunate enough to continue his education with Ashland toward his BA degree. He has been blessed tenfold from participating in the program. I remember his first semester and all the excitement and success he had. Every week he shared all the incredible feedback he received from his professors, and he shared how how it made him feel valued. Every semester was more rewarding. He not only learned knowledge about the world but more importantly, he discovered who he is. Today, he feels a purpose.

- Tammy C, Parent of Student Incarcerated at Dooly State Prison, Georgia

Our students have realized that just because they have to spend time here, they don't have to waste time. They have chosen to improve themselves and their lives through education and that choice will affect them more than they realize.

- Shelley Stelly, AU Assistant Director of Louisiana Programs, Louisiana

During my tenure as Education Director, I have seen the education offerings to Louisiana’s offender population grow at a slow, steady pace, but, it wasn’t until 2015, when we introduced Ashland University programming, that I saw the greatest positive increase in college interest and activity. Not only did the program gain full interest of the offenders, but, at no cost to the department, it received overwhelming support of the administration. I consider the introduction of Ashland to Louisiana’s state and local prisons one of my greatest achievements.

- Kim Barnette, Education Director (retired), Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections

Ashland University has made me realize I can do what I’ve always thought I could not have done. Getting this degree gave me the opportunity to achieve some of my short-term goals in education. Out of nine brothers and sisters, I am the only one without an education. Thanks to Ashland, I now have an associate's degree.

- B.M., Louisiana Transitional Center for Women, Louisiana

Believing in continued education, I have found Ashland University to be a true blessing in my life. The professors are very encouraging and have helped me strive to achieve the very best education. Thank you, AU.

- J.T., Richland Correctional Institution, Ohio

“I am very pleased with our partnership with Ashland University. AU provides our offenders with a sense of purpose and an opportunity to prepare for a brighter future. We have found that AU’s staff are committed professionals who have the best interests of their students in mind at all times. AU is an integral part of our rehabilitation program and I am proud of our partnership with them.”

- Robert C. Tanner, Warden, B.B. Rayburn Correctional Center

Ashland University is extremely important to me because it taught me about perseverance and the rewards of getting an associate’s degree. The Ashland Program gave me a sense of being proud of myself. For the first time in my life, doing school work has made me feel intelligent.

- A.G., Louisiana Transitional Center for Women

Student & Alumni Spotlight

Benito C., 2018 Correctional Education Graduate, Louisiana

BENITO C.
2018 Graduate
Louisiana

What have you been doing since you were released?

I have been working as a director of operations for a grocery store chain in Louisiana.  Also, I have been volunteering for state reentry programs as well as starting a nonprofit to provide transportation alternatives for recently released former offenders.

How did your experience with Ashland University affect your incarceration?

It gave me something to focus on during my incarceration , keeping my mind off of the negative influences that permeate a prison and it gave me goals to achieve that in turn made me stronger and more self-assured of myself each and every semester.

Overall, what has your Ashland University experience meant to you?

My Ashland experience has meant the world to me. At the age of 59 years old, I thought my best years were behind me, but after completing 4 years in prison, and coming out a college graduate, it enabled me to have a fantastic second career that has in turn given me financial security and, most of all, self-respect.

Correctional Education student Joseph B

JOSEPH B.
2019 Graduate
Louisiana

What have you been doing since you were released?

I was released March 5, 2020. Unfortunately, that was a few weeks before the shutdown caused by the global pandemic. I was managing a salon prior to the closure but the salon is currently shutdown. I have been using the off time to research future job endeavors and educational possibilities. I am planning to move to New York this summer.

How did your experience with Ashland University affect your incarceration?

Being able to take courses through Ashland University during my incarceration helped tremendously with doing my time. My days were filled with education rather than some of the nonsense that takes place in prison. I was able to focus my energy on something beneficial rather than on things that do not impact my future. I feel like my time would have been a lot more difficult without the Ashland University program.

Overall, what has your Ashland University experience meant to you?

This experience with Ashland University has meant so much to me that it is really hard to put it into words. During one of the darkest times in my life, I feel like Ashland University extended this sliver of hope that turned into something much bigger. I have been given a gift that I can take with me for the rest of my life and use to better the world. That is something that you can’t put a price on and I am forever grateful.

Correctional Education student Stormy J

STORMY J.
2020 Graduate
Georgia

What have you been doing since you were released?

I was released in November 2019, after serving 2 years and 8 months. Unfortunately, I was released mid-semester, but I was still able to stay on track. I am still taking courses through Ashland and intend on doing so until I graduate with my Bachelor’s Degree in December of 2021. Since my release, I only have time for working and keeping up with my course work.  I am focused on my end goal…success.  

How did your experience with Ashland University affect your incarceration?

Overall, Ashland University helped me during my incarceration. It was like my thought process changed from worrying about when I would go home to, “Oh my goodness, it is Thursday and I haven't done any homework”. Realistically, my time did not go faster, but you could not convince me that those 12 weeks of nonstop homework did not go faster than the breaks we had in between semesters.

Overall, what has your Ashland University experience meant to you?

Ashland helped to change my outlook and made me realize that my time could be used to better myself.  I am so grateful that I was included in the Ashland experience the women I was able to experience it with and the amazing site director that we had. The people I have met through Ashland have made a huge impact on my life and will never be forgotten. I am so tremendously thankful for the experience Ashland has given me and the opportunities it will continue to give me. I want to thank Ashland and all of the many women I worked so closely with, for the wonderful experience and the chance at a better future.