"Provide free, high quality, higher education to people incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison and throughout the California State Prison system."
Patten University at San Quentin conducts three 13-week semesters per year, with approximately 12 classes each semester in the humanities, social sciences, math, and science. Students who complete the entire 60 unit curriculum can earn an Associate of Arts degree in liberal arts. Each student must hold a GED or high school diploma to enroll. To date, 60 students have completed their degrees while at San Quentin and many more are now continuing their studies on the outside.
The Program also provides a comprehensive College Preparatory Program in math and English, which prepares beginning students to do college level work.
The After Prison Advising Program (a project of the California Reentry Program) provides pre-release academic advising for students who plan to continue their studies after leaving prison.
Most of the roughly 70 instructors, teaching assistants, guest lecturers and tutors who participate in the program in a given semester are graduate students or faculty from the University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco State University, Stanford University, and other local colleges and universities. All work on a voluntary basis.
1. Prison inmates should have the opportunity to educate themselves.
2. Prison education helps inmates lead more productive lives when they return to society, and makes it less likely that they will return to prison.
3. The College Program at San Quentin should be expanded and used as an example for similar programs throughout the state, the nation, and the world.