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East Moline inmates studying in Augustana College program

East Moline inmates studying in Augustana College program

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EAST MOLINE — Inmates at East Moline Correctional Center have begun a Bachelor of Arts program through Augustana College.

State officials say 10 students began study late in the summer. They are taking courses from professors who lecture on the same subjects on Augustana's Rock Island campus.

It's the first BA program offered East Moline inmates in more than 20 years.

The initial program offers a communications studies major with other majors to be added. The liberal arts curriculum includes history, literature, math, foreign languages, religion, science and the arts.

Illinois Department of Corrections Director Rob Jeffreys says a college degree is key to those in custody who want to change their lives and provide financially for their families.

Rodrigo Carrillo, director of strategic initiatives and planning for the Illinois Housing Development Authority, says the state will finish reviewing rental assistance applications ahead of the eviction moratorium's expiration on Oct. 3.

"While there's a national negative narrative of states aren't getting their money out, we're very proud that Illinois is doing the opposite," Carrillo said. "We are getting the funds to those in need."


Augustana modeled its program after the Bard Prison Initiative. It was featured in the 2019 PBS documentary "College Behind Bars."

Students in the Augustana Prison Education Program pay no tuition or any costs associated with coursework. The program is funded by the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation.


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