Correctional Education | Correctional Education (2022)

Contact Us

For inquiries about your student:
Denise Justice

For all other inquiries:

Want more info?

Request Info

Request Info

Use the form below to request additional information about Ashland University's Correctional Education program.

Downloadable Fast Facts

Eligibility & Degree Information

Current Degree Options

  • Associate of Arts in:
    • General Studies
    • General Studies w/ Business Concentration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Applied Communication with
    • Business Administration Minor
    • Business Management Minor
    • Religion Minor
    • Sociology Minor
    • Christian Ministry Minor
  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (currently a pilot)
  • Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies
    (communications, sociology, business courses)
  • Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership

Admissions Requirements

  • Ashland University Admissions Requirements as indicated in the Academic Catalog

Other Requirements

  • Must be able to cover tuition; state-funding, self-pay, Pell grant, scholarship or other means
  • Must not be enrolled in any other Pell-funded program
  • Must have enough time remaining on sentence (minimum 6-12 months) to complete first term
  • Satisfactory disciplinary record (based on facility policy)
  • Acceptable competency-based assessment TABE/CASAS/etc. score
  • Sentence “good time” credit may be available as part of program participation/completion
(Video) Why Correctional Education Matters


A Rich History

Since 1964, Ashland University has offered college programming to incarcerated individuals. What began humbling at the Ohio State Reformatory and continues with that same humility in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

More than 175 full- and part-time Correctional Education Program staff members work together with passion and commitment for the work and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the students impacted. The mission of this program is to provide a transformative learning experience that will help reduce recidivism and make students better individuals, family members and global citizens. We believe our program provides an unmatched opportunity to educate offenders while they are inside and when they get out.

Evolution of Correctional Education

Early Years (1964-1994)

Correctional Education | Correctional Education (1)

  • Started in 1964 (longest continually running program in the U.S.)
  • Ohio State Reformatory (Mansfield) - Shawshank location
  • Bachelors and Associate Degrees (face-to-face)
  • Utilized Pell funding

Post Pell (1994-2015)

Correctional Education | Correctional Education (2)

  • Advanced Job Training (AJT) Certificates - funded by the State of Ohio
  • Seven AJT Certificate Programs
  • No degrees, not humanities courses (face-to-face)

Today (2016-present)

Correctional Education | Correctional Education (3)

  • Pell ESI approval in 2016
  • Over 100 program locations and over 4,000 students
  • Serving: Arizona, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, West Virginia
  • Serving more post-secondary students in correctional education than any other college or university in the U.S.
  • Associates and Bachelors degrees (distance education on tablets and notebooks)

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Ashland University involved in Correctional Education?

The work of Ashland University's Correctional Education Program supports AU'sAccent on the Individual motto, and its held belief thateveryone deserves a second chance, including a second chance at an education.

What is Ashland University’s Mission, Vision & Core Values?

Mission Statement: Ashland University, guided by its Christian heritage, is a comprehensive, private university that provides a transformative learning experience, shaping graduates who work, serve and lead with integrity in their local, national and global communities.

Vision: Ashland University aspires to be a nationally-recognized private university, where traditions of excellence are fostered and students discern their life calling and thrive.

Core Values:

  • Accent on the Individual – Pledges the best individual and collective efforts to challenge and encourage each member of the university within a supportive community.
  • Spirituality and Faith – Affirms Christian values as a core element of the university’s institutional identity, emphasizing faith in God, moral integrity, and respect for the diversity of values and faith of each person in a community of learning.
  • Character Development – Promotes integrity, self-discipline, responsibility, compassion, leadership, service and good citizenship.
  • Academic Freedom – Supports free, open and critical inquiry for both students and faculty necessary for intellectual and professional development.
  • Excellence in Teaching – Emphasizes teaching supported by research and scholarship as the University’s central responsibility.

How long has Ashland University been providing Correctional Education?

In 1964, Ashland University began offering instruction to individuals at the Ohio State Reformatory. Faculty volunteered to teach college-level courses in line with AU’s mission of outreach and redemption. Between 1964 and today, AU has provided post-secondary education in the form of associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and Advanced Job Training certificates. Ashland University is pleased to be the home for the largest and longest continually operating, post-secondary, correctional education program in the United States.

How many students are enrolled in the Correctional Education program and where is it offered?

Ashland University is the largest program in the nation – serving more than 5,000 incarcerated students with post-secondary education in minimum- to maximum-security environments in more than 120 facilities over a dozen states.

How many students have graduated from Ashland University through the Correctional Education program?

Pell grants for those incarcerated in state and federal correctional facilities was restored for some colleges and universities via the Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative in 2016.

Total degrees awarded from Fall 2016 through Spring 2021: 1,142

    • Associate of Arts degrees conferred: 923
    • Bachelor of Arts degrees conferred: 219

How many people are employed by the Correctional Education program at Ashland University?

Ashland University employs more than than 200 instructors (adjunct and full-time faculty) every semester. Additionally, the program has over 55 staff members at our Ashland campus in Ohio and over 120 additional employees working inside correctional facilities around the country.Also, support services such as Library-Instructional Resource Center, Student Accessibility Services, Math E-Tutor program, Veteran Services, Subject Matter Experts and CP-Tech personnel participate in Correctional Education. The University has created an interdepartmental system of collaboration across the university to deliver an effective and efficient program to serve incarcerated and post-incarcerated students. All of these departments -- including support departments such as records, registration, financial aid and human resources -- play a vital role in the delivery of the successful academic programs to all of AU’s students, including those who are incarcerated.

What are the eligibility criteria for students?

Ashland’s program focuses on providing access to thousands of incarcerated men and women who would have no other opportunity to attend college in a correctional facility.Students must meet the eligibility requirements for students at Ashland University. This includes having earned a high school diploma or High School equivalency (GED®, HiSET or TASC). Students must also be able to cover the cost of tuition; state-funding, self-pay, Pell grant, scholarship or other means. There is also additional criteria set in cooperation with the individual correctional entities we serve related to length of time remaining in sentence, disciplinary record, compentency-based assessment scores, "good time" credit, etc.


What are the program costs for the student and facility?

There are no out-of-pocket expenses for the students enrolled in the Ashland program or for the facility housing the students. The cost of textbooks, tuition and technology are covered by Pell grants and AU university scholarships. Most students in the program receive financial aid through the Pell Grant and Ashland is grateful for the continued support of the Pell grant and scholarships to support its mission in Correctional Education.

What are the degree programs offered?

Each degree program is developed in conjunction with the appropriate academic department and approved by AU's Faculty Senate. Ashland offers two associate degrees which require a minimum of 60 semester hours to complete:

  • Associate of Arts Degree in General Studies
  • Associate of Arts Degree with a concentration in Business (63 hours)

Ashland offers three bachelor’s degree options requiring 120 semester hours to complete:

  • Bachelor of Artsin Applied Communication degree with four different options for a minor -- business administration, business management, sociology, religion or Christian ministry
  • Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with Science & Professional Practicum Concentrations
  • Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies

The degrees and the courses have the same student learning outcomes as courses on campus and have the same academic rigor.

How is the program structured?

Ashland serves students with face-to-face courses in Ohio and distance education in other states. Distance education is offered utilizing a distance learning modality with a secure online connection and secure device, either a notebook computer or keyboard-equipped tablet.

What are the advantages of distance learning on secure devices (notebooks and tablets)?

Students interact with course material (videos, handouts, assignments, quizzes and tests) and communicate with their instructors through their devices. The advantage of completing the courses online is that the students can work any time during the day or night as their schedules allow. In addition, there are many situations where the only means of providing college in prisons is via distance education when face to face courses are not an option.

Do the students have to pay for their supplies?

Except in cases where the Department of Corrections handles the issuance of the devices, Ashland provides all the technology, textbooks, and instructional supplies for each student. The expense is covered by Pell grants, Ashland University scholarships and several other sources.

What advising services are provided?

Ashland University has a dedicated team of enrollment and academic advising support staff who assist students in their progress toward their academic degree. These professionals ensure that students are meeting all requirements of their intended degree by reviewing course registration and graduation requirements. They also ensure that every student is meeting university policies and maintain student records for compliance with accreditation standards. Students also have access to on-site professionals who serve as a liaison with university staff.

How many classes can the student enroll in per semester?

Students are able to enroll in up to four classes each term, and those who wish to take fewer courses may do so as well.

Are there on-site personnel who can meet face to face with the student?

A site director is assigned to each location. This person is an Ashland University employee whose job is to serve students and act as a liaison with the facility and Ashland University. The site director, along with the instructors, are the main program contacts for students. They help students register for classes, resolve issues with technology, get answers to questions students have and distribute textbooks and other supplies.

Is Ashland University part of the Department of Education's "Second Chance Pell" program and when was AU awarded the opportunity to participate?

(Video) The Prison Education Paradox | Jennifer Lackey | TEDxNorthwesternU

Yes, Ashland University was selected to participate in the Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative program in 2016 during the Obama Administration.

If a degree is not completed while incarcerated, are there opportunities to complete the degree after incarceration?

Courses are available for re-entry students who have completed a minimum of 6 credit hours and remain Pell eligible to complete their degree. They can do this without financial responsibilities for tuition, textbooks or fees. Financial aid is also available to students who are not Pell eligible. The program is set up in such a way that a student can be enrolled in courses within a facility one day, get released, then login the next day from any computer on the outside to continue his/her instruction.

Does Ashland University have courses focused specifically on issues students will face upon reentry?

Yes, courses are available to help with rehabilitation and reorientation back into society. These courses are credit-bearing, apply toward their degree and are of benefit to the student even if the student is only able to participate for a semester or two before being released.

Why have no other colleges expanded their programs like Ashland?

Ashland has many unique advantages over other Correctional Education Post-Secondary programs. Some of these advantages are:

  • Digital/online/remote learning -- This modality has been gaining popularity across all educational strata in the past several years. This allows Ashland to offer more courses to more students.
  • Student learning flexibility – Ashland’s programming fits the students’ schedules and allows them to work, meet obligations and other activities that a strict face-to-face schedule might not.
  • High-quality education -- Ashland’s Correctional Education classes are the same courses taken by the traditional undergraduate student and are often taught by the same instructor.
  • Understanding of correctional culture
    • Long-term commitment -- Because of Ashland University’s experience, it has a unique understanding of the challenges of working in the correctional environment.
    • Student advocacy – Ashland wants to provide the hope that a high-quality education provides to the students who are willing to put in the hard work to earn a degree. AU also understands it serves at the discretion of each state Department of Corrections, prison, and jail and that these each have their own unique rules, regulations, and culture.

Does Ashland University offer face-to-face courses in prison?

Yes, it has been providing face-to-face education at a number of Ohio locations since 1964.

Who determines the technology used in the facility and is there a charge to the student to use the technology?

The tablet or notebook system is determined by the facility or the state’s Department of Corrections, not the University. There is no charge to a student for the use of the device for educational purposes or for communicating with the university faculty and staff.

Is Ashland University a for profit university?

No, Ashland is a private, nonprofit university authorized by the Ohio Department of Higher education and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Are AU’s CE courses and programs accredited?

All credits earned are accredited through the Higher Learning Commission. The courses AU provides in the correctional environment are the same courses taught to their traditional on- campus and online students. They follow the same learning outcomes and, in many cases, are taught by the same faculty. Every facility has a site director to assist students with whatever they need in order to be successful in their studies.

How has the pandemic affected operations?

Because AU college in-prison courses are distance education courses delivered via secure technology, students have been able to continue their courses without interruption and AU has even been able to expand to new facilities through the pandemic. No courses have had to cease and operations are continuing at all facilities. There have been some temporary access restrictions for on-site directors. However, there has been no disruption of programming due to the pandemic.

(Video) Education in Prisons | Karyn-Lynn Fisette | TEDxPortlandStateUniversity
(Video) Corrections Education


What are the 4 biggest challenges facing correctional institutions today? ›

As we turn the page on 2018, take a look back at the biggest moments in corrections.
  • Prison overcrowding. ...
  • Funding gaps. ...
  • Staff safety/inmate violence. ...
  • Advancements in technology. ...
  • Staff retention. ...
  • The future is not lost.
Dec 11, 2018

What is the importance of corrections? ›

The main purpose of corrections in the criminal justice system is to punish offenders who commit any crimes. By punishing offenders it will deter any offender from committing any more crimes. Corrections ensure that communities are safe, the fear of crime is reduced, and it establishes the idea of getting treatment.

What is the philosophy of corrections? ›

The Five Sentencing Philosophies. There are five basic sentencing philosophies that justify why we punish those who break our criminal laws: retribution, incapacitation, rehabilitation, deterrence, and restoration. These philosophies arenot esoteric theories.

What is the biggest problem in correction today? ›

Prison overcrowding is one of the key contributing factors to poor prison conditions around the world. It is also arguably the biggest single problem facing prison systems and its consequences can at worst be life-threatening at best prevent prisons from fulfilling their proper function.

What is the important role of correctional institution in our community? ›

Community corrections programs attempt to accomplish many goals. These goals include easing institutional crowding and cost; preventing future criminal behavior through surveillance, rehabilitation, and community reintegration; and addressing victims' needs through restorative justice.

What is the purpose of the correctional system? ›

Corrections refers to the branch of the criminal justice system that deals with individuals who have been convicted of a crime. The role of the correctional system is to ensure that an offender's sentence is carried out, whether it's time in jail or prison, probation, or community service.

What is the main purpose of corrections and sentencing? ›

The purpose of corrections is to fulfill society's need to respond to criminal behavior. The goals of the response are to stop the offensive behav- ior, reduce the likelihood it will happen again, and make the offender pay some price.

What are the four main goals of corrections? ›

The historical changes in sentencing and corrections policies and practices can be characterized, in part, by the emphasis on different goals. Four major goals are usually attributed to the sentencing process: retribution, rehabilitation, deterrence, and incapacitation.

What is correctional ideology? ›

“The correctional ideology refers to a body of ideas and practices that pertain to the processing of offenders, as determined by law.” There are three main correctional ideologies: punishment, rehabilitation, and prevention. Throughout history, these have been the methods used to deal with offenders.

What are the 5 philosophies of punishment? ›

There are five main underlying justifications of criminal punishment considered briefly here: retribution; incapacitation; deterrence; rehabilitation and reparation.

What is the punishment ideology? ›

The idea that punishment can result in the offense being "paid" for and that its effect can be expanded from the specific criminal to the general public has been around from the earliest times.

What is the role of correction in criminal justice system? ›

Corrections is one of the imperatives, nay, pillars of criminal justice administration. It is tasked to safe keep and to rehabilitate those convicted by the courts. It is in corrections where the better part, which is the greater duration, of a sentenced person as he spends the judicially prescribed penalty.

What is wrong with the correctional system? ›

Extreme problems like overcrowding and long-term isolation can cause hallucinations, depression, psychological regression and even cognitive dysfunction. Along with poor living conditions, many inmates are part of the penal labor system. Thought to be rehabilitative, prison labor is common.

How can we make prisons more effective? ›

  1. Create Transforming Prisons Act.
  2. Accelerate Decarceration Begun During Pandemic.
  3. Encourage Rehabilitative Focus in State Prisons.
  4. Foster Greater Use of Community Sanctions.
  5. Embrace Rehabilitative/Restorative Community Justice Models.
  6. Encourage Collaborations between Corrections Agencies and Researchers.

What is the importance of studying the ethical standard in correctional system? ›

Corrections professionals keep offenders locked up or under supervision. Correctional officers have an ethical responsibility to do everything they can to ensure the safety of the public. Even when members of the public are disrespectful to us, we must be professional in attitude, words and behavior.

What is the benefits of community based correction? ›

Community-based alternatives to prison claim to be more effective in reducing recidivism than are traditional prisons, to be cheaper than prisons, and to reduce overcrowding in prisons and jails.

What means correctional system? ›

Definition of Corrections System

(noun) System that supervises individuals who have been accused, arrested, or convicted of crimes.

What is one responsibility of the correctional system or personnel? ›

Correctional officers typically do the following: Enforce rules and keep order within jails or prisons. Supervise activities of inmates. Inspect facilities to ensure that they meet security and safety standards.

What are the types of corrections? ›

Correctional populations fall into two general categories: institutional corrections and community corrections.

What are some of the issues facing prisons today quizlet? ›

Issues facing prisons today are HIV/AIDS, Geriatric Offenders, Inmates with Mental Illness and Intellectual Disabilities, and Terrorism.

What challenges do correctional counselors face? ›

Counselors witness much violence and aggression in the prison. While some offenders blend into the correctional environment, others experience significant adjustment difficulties. Includes anxiety, stress, and loss of support from loved ones. Suicide is leading cause of death in lock ups and jails.

What are the major problems with American prisons? ›

While behind bars, incarcerated people are subjected to degrading treatment, inhumane conditions, and abusive interactions—all of which result in substantial social, behavioral, and cognitive trauma that handicap them in their efforts to reintegrate into society upon release.

What challenges do prisoners face? ›

Former inmates face numerous psychological challenges when released from prison, including stigma, discrimination, isolation, and instability. This can lead to devastating outcomes, like failed relationships, homelessness, substance misuse, recidivism, overdose, and suicide.


1. Correctional Education by the Numbers
(Education Week)
2. A Montessori prison education: Brian Walsh at TEDxMonroeCorrectionalComplex
(TEDx Talks)
3. Correctional Education Programs
(Otto Stacey)
4. Northwestern Prison Education Program unlocks potential inside a maximum security prison
5. Character Development and Correctional Education
(Brandon's Commentary)
6. WWCC Correctional Education
(Walla Walla Community College)

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Tuan Roob DDS

Last Updated: 09/16/2022

Views: 6530

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tuan Roob DDS

Birthday: 1999-11-20

Address: Suite 592 642 Pfannerstill Island, South Keila, LA 74970-3076

Phone: +9617721773649

Job: Marketing Producer

Hobby: Skydiving, Flag Football, Knitting, Running, Lego building, Hunting, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Tuan Roob DDS, I am a friendly, good, energetic, faithful, fantastic, gentle, enchanting person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.