Who We Are
The Texas Prison Education Initiative is a volunteer-run organization at the University of Texas at Austin offering credit-bearing college courses through UT-Extension to incarcerated youth and adults at no cost to students. Since 2018, more than 130 incarcerated youths and students have enrolled in our pre-college, college, and enrichment courses, and 60 graduate students, postdocs, and faculty members volunteered with TPEI. Our mission at the University of Texas-Austin is to provide credit-bearing, liberal arts education to incarcerated juveniles and adults at no cost. We strive to reduce recidivism rates, make our communities safer, and change the lives of incarcerated Texans and their families. We believe that the liberal arts uniquely challenges students to understand themselves with
What We’re Fundraising For
We are fundraising to support two key areas of our program: Credit-Courses and Math Literacy. Our credit-courses cost roughly $200 per student per semester, inclusive of fees, books, and materials. Thus far, we have offered courses in Sociology, Rhetoric & Writing, English, Philosophy, Education Studies, and Mathematics. We are hoping to expand these course offerings over the next year. This summer, we are running a non-credit math literacy program at Lockhart to help our incarcerated students develop their quantitative reasoning skills and prepare for college-level math and science courses like statistics, college algebra, physics, and more.
Your gifts will help ensure that incarcerated students at Lockhart Women's Prison have access to the life-changing power of education. Today, more than 155,000 adults are living behind bars in Texas prisons. That's more people than can fit into UT's Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Football Stadium (the 9th largest stadium in the world). With so many of our community members locked away, we need to make a change. College courses in the liberal arts provide a unique path for incarcerated students to understand themselves in relation to history, society, and culture, and act as a catalyst for transformation from prisoner to scholar.
At the end of each semester, we hold a ceremony at Lockhart to celebrate the hard work of all of our students and teachers. Students often come to tears sharing how meaningful their participation in TPEI has been, and more than one has said "I finally feel like I have done something my family can be proud of."