News & Events


His Best Employee is an Inmate from a Prison He Didn’t Want Built

This Washington Post article discusses the ways in which hiring formerly incarcerated individuals provides benefits to both employers and formerly incarcerated employees. 

CCSF Courses Expand to Include Psychology, Creative Writing for Incarcerated Students

This San Francisco Examiner article covers the expanded college course curriculum that will be made available to inside of San Francisco County Jail through Five Keys Charter School and City College of San Francisco. 

Project Aims to Change Minds and Change Lives

This Daily Journal article discusses Project Change, an innovative referral-based program that helps incarcerated youth transition from juvenile detention to higher education.

Paroling the Mind: A College Program Opens New Doors for Former Convicts

This Capital & Main article highlights Rebound, Romarilyn Ralston, program coordinator for Project Rebound at CSU Fullerton talks about the transformative power of education inside and out.

Poetry from Prison

This Capitol Public Radio segment features an interview with Michael Owens, author of the upcoming book "The Way Back" which he has written while serving a life sentence in prison. In this interview, Owens discusses what he’s learned in “the system” and the challenges of publishing a book from prison.

Shasta County is Stepping Up

This California State Sheriff's Association Magazine article highlights the Shasta Technical Education Program - Unified Partnership (STEP-UP) as a promising and innovative practice in corrections. 

Project Rebound’s “Bridge to Success” event introduces educational opportunities and resources for the previously incarcerated

This Daily Titan article covers Project Rebound's "Bridge to Success" event, an student orientation geared specifically toward supporting formerly incarcerated students as they begin their academic year at Cal State Fullerton. 

Las Colinas Inmates Get New Opportunity for Education, Hope

This San Diego Union Tribune article details the hopeful futures being built at Las Colinas Jail for students who are completing college credits while incarcerated. 

Converted City Bus Brings Education To The Hardest-to-Reach Students

This Huffington Post article discusses Five Keys, a San Francisco based charter school who's using a decommissioned bus to expand educational opportunities for the hardest-to-reach students beyond the classroom. 

UC is Changing Its Hiring Policy to Remove Barriers to Opportunity

UCnet reports on the University of California's decision to "ban the box" on applications for employment within the UC system, a policy change driven by the Underground Scholars Initiative, an advocacy group for formerly incarcerated students. 

Project Rebound Helps Former Inmates Adjust To College Life

NPR Weekend Edition's Scott Simon speaks to Arnold Trevino, a Project Rebound student and recent graduate from Fresno State, and Jennifer Leahy, Program Director of Project Rebound at Fresno State. 

Project Rebound – How Ex-Cons, Even Lifers, Can Get Out and Stay Out of Prison

The Fresno Bee reports on the Spring 2017 graduation of Project Rebound students at Fresno State. The story profiles Arnold Trevino, a graduate with a Bachelor's in Social Work, telling his story from prison to graduation, and includes a brief history of Project Rebound. 

First College Graduates From New Prisoner Reintegration Program

Southern California Public Radio reports on Cal State Fullerton's first Project Rebound graduate, Omar Chavez. The article, which includes audio, tells Omar's story, and details the success of Project Rebound's recent expansion to seven CSU campuses.  

Choosing Education Over Incarceration

DIG MAG covers the transformative power of education by profiling formerly incarcerated students. The post discusses Project Rebound's upcoming expansion to CSU Long Beach and uses student voices to highlight the impact education can have on a life. 

#CollegeNotPrison Social Media and Public Awareness Campaign

The Institute for Higher Education Policy launched #CollegeNotPrison, a social media and public awareness campaign to educate policymakers, campus leaders, and the public about the financial aid barriers justice-involved youth face when pursuing higher education. 

Buried Alive: Stories From Inside Solitary Confinement

GQ profiles individuals who spent time in solitary confinement. The article highlights the cruel and outdated nature of this form of punishment, giving voice to the experiences of what happens to the body and mind when placed in solitary. 

Second Chances are Coming to CSULB

The Daily 49er reports on the impressive expansion of Project Rebound. Project Rebound currently exists on 8 CSU campuses, and soon hopes to expand to Cal State Long Beach.

The Ex-Con Scholars of Berkeley

The New Yorker profiles UC Berkeley's Underground Scholars Initiative. The piece shines light on the group of formerly incarcerated undergrads who are offering mentoring, support, and advocacy to other former inmates. 

Rewriting the Sentence: College Behind Bars

APM Reports audio documentary on providing education to incarcerated people. More than 2 million Americans are incarcerated, and one of the best ways to reduce recidivism is to provide education. 

Cal State's Project Rebound wants to make life after prison successful through education

The Los Angeles Times reports on Project Rebound and its recent expansion to Cal State Fullerton, where it is the only initiative of its kind in Orange County.

Life Beyond Bars: One Man's Journey from Prison to College

The New York Times profiles a John Jay College student in New York City and discusses his hopes and remaining obstacles.

Higher education should be a public good, not a private commodity

This The Washington Post opinion piece calls on the next president to reform higher ed and mentions the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program for students in prison.

Hiring Job Seekers with Criminal Histories

This Society for Human Resource Management article discusses why employers should consider applicants with criminal records and how to address concerns.

Stepping-Stone or Off-Ramp?

This Inside Higher Ed article explores new research urging caution when creating and promoting stackable credential pathways.

Spending on Corrections and Higher Education

In a blog post, the Public Policy Institute of California examines patterns in California state spending on corrections and higher education in the current budget, noting that "California spends more on corrections and less on higher education today, in relative terms, than at nearly any point in the past thirty years."

The Power of Realistic Expectations

This Stanford Business School Insights article describes research investigating the effects of quick interventions to help at-risk students persevere.

Upcoming Events

March 1-4: Beyond the Bars Conference

The 8th annual Beyond the Bars Conference of the Center for Justice at Columbia University seeks to contribute to the growing movement to close jails and prisons as a part of the larger struggle to end mass incarceration. In particular, it will focus on elevating the efforts led by grassroots organizers that include formerly incarcerated and directly impacted people. For more information, view the flyer. 

April 6 & 7: Conference on Reintegration of Formerly Incarcerated Populations

Cal State LA hosts its third annual conference bringing together a network of formerly incarcerated students and alumni from across the state to discuss advocacy strategies and opportunities for currently and formerly incarcerated people. Workshops will concentrate on mitigating legal barriers, record expungement, employment preparedness, educational opportunity, advocacy, leadership development, and issues affecting individuals, families, impacted communities, and public health & safety. This conference is specifically for formerly incarcerated students and alumni leaders! Email questions to For more information, view the flyer

April 19th & 20th: Statewide Summit on Building Excellence for CA's Incarcerated & Formerly Incarcerated Students

This two-day summit is designed to take colleges beyond simply reaching incarcerated and formerly incarcerated college students and into the future to achieve a shared vision of quality and sustainability. This summit will focus on quality, student support, degree completion, job attainment, and transfer. Topics will cover emerging issues ranging from trauma responsiveness, to technology in custody, to new funding for on-campus efforts. For more information, view the eventbrite

By Appointment Only: Clean Slate Program

This is an on going event. The Fresno County Public Defender's office will be facilitating a Clean Slate Program for record clearances, expungements, felony reduction, certificates of rehabilitation, and and other services. Appointments will take place at the Fresno EOC Neighborhood Youth Center in Fresno, CA. For more information, view the flyer.

Every Wednesday: Urban Scholars Union #PrisonToSchoolPipeline Weekly Meetings

Every Wednesday at 4 p.m. at San Diego City College, MS-440. Urban Scholars Union is an organization of formerly incarcerated students at San Diego City College. Their vision is to cut recidivism rates through empowerment, leadership development, and reconstruction of social and personal narratives. For more information, view the flyer.

Every Wednesday 2-6pm: Free/Low-cost LiveScan to get your RAP Sheet

Getting a copy of your criminal history report is the first step to clearing your criminal record. San Jose State's Record Clearance Project is offering appointments every Wednesday to order free/low-cost RAP sheet. For more information, view the flyer in English or in Spanish

Recent Events

Conference on Creating Pathways from Youth Incarceration to Higher Education

On Jan. 26th, 2018, the Youth Law Center and Project Change hosted a statewide conference to increase post-secondary education opportunities in California for young people impacted by the juvenile justice system. The conference aimed to support the implementation of higher education programs in every county throughout the state by sharing knowledge and experience about effective programs and by addressing policy barriers to program success and sustainability. For more information, view the flyer.


On Jan 25th, 2018, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission hosted a a half-day event to promote employment pathways in tech for people with conviction histories. This event gave opportunity to learn about various Bay Area programs that are training people with prior conviction records, listen to the unique challenges that formerly incarcerated people face in finding employment, and meet other attendees in the fields of reentry, education, and tech. For more information, view the website. 

SF State Project Rebound Public Forum: "Justice Reform Begins with Us"

On Nov. 30th, San Francisco State University's Project Rebound program, in partnership with the Doc Film Institute, and the Department of Sociology & Sexual Studies at SF State hosted a public forum entitled Justice Reform Begins with Us. This forum emphasized that justice issues can impact us all, regardless of our race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, belief system or politics. This forum was aimed at finding solutions, while adding substance and clarity to the understanding of the issues. For more information, view the flyer.

Speed Screening, Free RAP Sheet Review

On Nov. 28th, San Jose State's Record Clearance Project conducted a free Speed Screening on November 28th. Services included one-on-one interviews to determine the next steps toward expungement, a presentation on record clearance law and employment rights, and free/low-cost LiveScans. For more information, View the flyer in English or in Spanish

[IN]Justice Speaks Open Mic Night

On Nov. 20th, The Transitions Collective Club at CSU San Marcos hosted an open mic night for poetry, spoken word, or music performances that relate to injustices that guests would like to bring awareness to. For more information, view the flyer.

LA Regional Convening

On Nov. 17th, Corrections to College California hosted the first LA regional convening on serving formerly incarcerated college students. Guests included representatives from LA Community College Districts as well as reentry organizations, probation, parole, and the Sheriff's departments. Discussions covered topics including expanding pathways to college campuses and how to support justice-involved students through to credential, degree, and transfer. For more information, view the flyer. 


On Nov. 4th, an afternoon reunion and dinner with Arts in Corrections alumni and teaching artists, followed by an evening program with music, awards and festivities was hosted in honor of the Prison Arts Project. Founder Eloise Smith's vision was "to provide an opportunity where a man can gain the satisfaction of creation rather than destruction...and to offer the professional artist as a model of creative self discipline." The event celebrated Eloise's vision and all the amazing artists who brought her vision to life (and lifers) through 40 years of meaningful prison art programs. 

Inland Empire Regional Convening

On Nov. 3rd, Corrections to College CA hosted the first Inland Empire regional convening on serving formerly incarcerated college students. This event built on the work already happening through the San Bernardino County Reentry Collaborative. Attendees discussed building and expanding pathways to college campuses and how to support justice-involved students through to credential, degree, and transfer. Justice-involved students participated in a panel at the convening. For more information, view the flyer. 

National Conference on Higher Education in Prison

On November 2-5, the National Conference on Higher Education in Prison (NCHEP) held its annual convening bringing together educators teaching college classes inside prisons throughout the country. The 2017 conference was held in Arlington, TX. Information about 2017's conference can be found here.

Speed Screening, Free RAP Sheet Review

On Oct. 26th, San Jose State's Record Clearance Project conducted free Speed Screenings. Services included one-on-one interviews to determine the next steps toward expungement, a presentation on record clearance law and employment rights, and free/low-cost LiveScans. For more information, View the flyer in English or in Spanish


On September 29th, Actors from the Los Angeles Mission performed in FREE YO MIND, a play that featured people who are striving to overcome their trials and tribulations by using advice and wisdom of Martin Luther King's "What Is In Your Life's Blueprint" speech. FREE YO MIND is a part of Los Angeles City College's "Freedom Festival." For more information, view the flyer

Freedom Festival

On September 28th and 29th, LA City College in partnership with the Los Angeles Missio hosted the Freedom Festival - a celebration of freedom, with a focus on bringing awareness to the needs of those returning home from incarceration.  view the flyer

North Valley Regional Convening

On September 22nd, Corrections to College CA hosted the first North Valley convening on serving formerly incarcerated college students, co-hosted by Modesto Junior College. Attendees included representatives from the three North Valley community college districts, CSU Stanislaus, UC Merced, community-based organizations, and Probation, Parole and Sheriff’s departments. Justice-involved students participated in a panel at the convening, and fruitful discussion followed. For more information, view the flyer. 

Berkeley Underground Scholars Transfer Empowerment Day

On August 12, 2017, UC Berkeley Underground Scholars held a Transfer Empowerment Day for those impacted by incarceration to learn about transferring to UC Berkeley. The event included a campus tour, admissions counseling, and a student panel. The event took place on the UC Berkeley campus at Anna Head Alumnae Hall (2537 Haste Street). For more information, view the flyer

Webinar on The Role of Lived Experience in Dismantling Collateral Consequences Caused by Incarceration

Policy and systems change are most authentic when they are driven by lived experience. When programs and policy makers include the voices of those that they serve and directly impact, their decision-making process and policies are more inclusive, comprehensive, and impactful.

 On August 1st, Putting People at the Center: The Role of Lived Experience in Dismantling Collateral Consequences Caused by Incarceration, a webinar on integrating lived experience into policy and systems change, took place. This webinar spoke to the importance of lived experience and explore the ways in which organizations partner with and learn from people most impacted in their decision making and processes driving policy change in criminal justice reforms related to employment, housing, and other collateral consequences of incarceration. For more information, view the flyer.

Words Uncaged Exhibition

From July 8-31st, the Words Uncaged Exhibition took place in Venice, California. This event celebrated the publication of the inaugural WordsUncaged Arts & Literary Journal. The exhibition featured original artwork and writing from the men of A-Yard in California State Prison. For more information, view the flyer.

Expanding Access to Postsecondary Education in Prison Webinar

On June 15, 2017, the Vera Institute of Justice hosted a webinar featuring a panel of representatives from three different college-prison partnerships. The webinar covered topics such as utilizing college success approaches with proven campus success in prisons, developing valuable college resources such as tutoring and mentorship programs for prison settings, and more. For more information about the webinar, click here.

Project Rebound Day of Solidarity, Celebration, and Strategic Planning

On June 9, 2017, San Francisco State University's Project Rebound chapter hosted an event welcoming all justice-impacted, current and former students across California. The event took place on Friday, June 9, from 11:00am - 4:00pm at the Fort Miley Ropes Course. For more information, view the flyer

JustLeadershipUSA's Emerging Leaders Training

On May 20, 2017, JLUSA hosted a training to further their mission to cut the U.S. correctional population in #halfby2030. The event took place in Los Angeles at the USC Gould School of Law. For more information, view the flyer.

Reentry Success: A Discussion of Reintegration

On May 13, 2017, L.A. Trade-Tech Community College hosted an event for non-profits in the reentry industry to come together in southern California, with a focus on ending mass incarceration, whole health services, reentry and productive reintegration. The event took place at Los Angeles Trade–Technical College, 400 West Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles. For more information, view the flyer.

LA City College's Break It To Make It Peer-to-Peer Meeting

On May 12, 2017, the Break It To Make It prison-to-college program at LA City College hosted a Peer-To-Peer meeting at the Los Angeles Mission. The program is a collaboration between LA City College, Los Angeles Mission, and the Strindberg Laboratory. The meeting included a tour of the Los Angeles Mission, lunch, and a peer-to-peer meeting for formerly incarcerated students, featuring guest speaker Danny Murillo. The event took place at the Los Angeles Mission, at 303 E 5th Street in Los Angeles. For more information, check out the meeting agenda

Rising Scholars: A Conversation on Formerly Incarcerated Students

On May 11, 2017, Rio Hondo College's Office of Student Equity hosted a dialogue on creating pathways to degree attainment for formerly incarcerated students. The event took place in the Student Union (SU 201) at Rio Hondo College in Whittier. For more information, view the flyer

Formerly Incarcerated Student Conference

On May 9, 2017, Berkeley Underground Scholars hosted an event for those directly impacted by mass incarceration. The event took place in the Fireside meeting room at Contra Costa College in San Pablo. For more information, view the flyer.

Drawing from Experience: Working with the Formerly Incarcerated

On April 28-29, 2017, San Diego State University hosted a day and a half of engagement and empowerment focused on the issues involved in correctional education and reentry. The event was sponsored by Project Rebound SDSU and The Student Alliance. For more details, view the flyer.

Fresno County Meeting at Fresno City College

On April 26, 2017, this event was the first Fresno County meeting on serving our formerly incarcerated college students, co-hosted by Fresno City College, CSU Fresno, and The Opportunity Institute's Renewing Communities Initiative. Higher education reduces recidivism, increases employment opportunities, and, most importantly, builds our community. So that we can better serve these students, many of whom are new to college, we invited colleges from three community college districts, CSU Fresno, community-based organizations, formerly incarcerated students, Probation, Parole, and the Sheriff to join us in a planning meeting. For more information, view the flyer.

They Call Us Monsters Screening

On April 20, 2017, Cal State San Marcos held the first club event hosted by the Sociology Club, Homie Up, and Justice studies.  They showed the documentary THEY CALL US MONSTERS followed by a panel discussion of formerly incarcerated students and advocates.  The showing was on 4/20 at 3 pm in ARTS 240. For more information, view the flyer.

Educate Not Incarcerate

On April 20, 2017, San Diego City College Student Equity partnered with the Urban Scholars Union to host a conversation on the "Pathway Through Higher Education: The Next Steps to Breaking Our Chains." The focus was on formerly incarcerated students personal narratives and the impact higher education has on their futures and the steps of transferring into UC Berkeley and San Diego State University. The event took place in MS-140 from 11:10 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. For more information, view the flyer.

Empowerment Summit for Formerly Incarcerated Students & Families

On April 19 & 20, 2017, two days of action and empowerment focused on creating educational and employment opportunities for students and families impacted by incarceration. The two day summit featured legal workshops & clinics focused on the needs of formerly incarcerated students and families, as well as workshops and panels on topics critical to successful reentry--employment, education, housing, cleaning up a record, and more. The event was held at Merritt College (12500 Campus Drive-Huey P. Newton & Bobby Seale Student Lounge) and was cohosted by Street Scholars and Root and Rebound. For more information, view the flyer and check out the agenda!

Kern County Meeting at Bakersfield College

On March 30, 2017 over 50 of us met in Kern County to think through how we can better support our currently and formerly incarcerated students as they navigate their way through higher education. This was the first meeting on building student success for justice involved students. The event was cohosted by Bakersfield College and The Opportunity Institute's Renewing Communities. 

UCLA Underground Scholars Initiative Chapter

On March 11, 2017, USI brought people who have been directly impacted by mass incarceration, including formerly incarcerated students, onto UCLA's campus. There was a tour, free lunch, and a panel discussion where USI members talked about their personal experiences in regards to being UCLA students, including how they have connected with the larger campus community. 

"Educating the Incarcerated" on The Dialogue

Taffany Lim, Gregory Evans, and Bindan Chandra Roy from Cal State LA talked live about their experiences running a BA program in Lancaster Prison. 

CA Perkins Joint Special Populations Advisory Committee Annual Conference

JSPAC "Pathways to Equity" conference. The Renewing Communities team from The Opportunity Institute spoke on a panel about CTE for currently and formerly incarcerated students.

Street Scholars at Merritt Presented The Imprisonment of African Spirits 13th: The Amendment that Led to Mass Incarceration

A Black history month panel discussion hosted at Merritt College, R Building-R110 (Newton-Seale Lounge).

ASCCC Regional Meetings: Supporting Formerly Incarcerated Students in CA

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges' (ASCCC) held two regional meetings about supporting formerly incarcerated students on college campuses. 

Sixth Annual National Conference on Higher Education in Prison in TN

On November 3 - 6, 2016, the sixth annual NCHEP conference took place in Nashville, Tennessee. It was co-hosted by Belmont University and the Tennessee Higher Education Initiative. More information about the conference is available here. Rebecca Silbert of The Opportunity Institute and Debbie Mukamal of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center represented the Renewing Communities initiative on a panel.

CLASP Reconnecting Justice Webinar

On October 28, 2016, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) hosted a webinar titled "Reconnecting Justice: Pathways to Effective Reentry through Education and Training." A recording of the webinar is available here. Brant Choate, the State Superintendent of Correctional Education at CDCR represented California.

Reentry Solutions Conference with the Federal Reserve Bank of SF

On October 19 & 20, 2016, The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's Community Development team hosted a two-day conference about reentry solutions in Ontario, CA. 

CONNECTION LOST: Families Unraveled by Prison

On September 8th, an event featuring presentations by two formerly incarcerated writers, Troy Williams and Watani Stiner, and two of their now-adult children called CONNECTION LOST: Families Unraveled by Prison was held. Troy Williams is the new editor of the Bay View newspaper, a videographer, and activist and restorative justice leader in Oakland. Watani Stiner is writing his soon to be published memoir and is also an Oakland restorative justice leader. Watani's son Larry Stiner is a poet and Troy's daughter Torri L. Williams is a recent college graduate working in Los Angeles. For more information, click here.

Project Rebound Fullerton Open House

This was an opportunity to meet Project Rebound scholars and staff at the Project Rebound Office in Langsdorf Hall, Room LH-647. All were welcome. Project Rebound Fullerton supports higher education and successful integration of formerly incarcerated students. 

Transitions Cohort College Course

From June 12 - August 4, Mira Costa College held an 8-week cohort college course at as an opportunity for formerly incarcerated students to begin their transition to college success. The course offered Career Technical Education (CTE) Introduction, Community Connection, College Resources, and included bus passes. For more information, view the flyer