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Wyoming Pathways from Prison is a trans-disciplinary and trans-professional statewide collaborative that aspires to support currently and formerly incarcerated people in navigating the waters of higher education and life more generally.
Wyoming Pathways from Prison has four central objectives:  provide no-cost college credit, in partnership with Wyoming community colleges, to incarcerated people;  engage in valuable service to the state of Wyoming;  mentor UW students in teaching and leadership;  provide students with valuable real-world experience through teaching and assistance to the Department of Corrections.
Wyoming Pathways from Prison emerged from an action research project that took place from December 2014 to August 2015, when Susan Dewey, Cathy Connolly, Bonnie Zare, and Rhett Epler conducted in-depth semi-structured interviews with 71 women currently and formerly incarcerated in Wyoming. Results indicated great potential for success in providing increased educational opportunities to incarcerated women. Since summer 2016, Wyoming Pathways from Prison has consistently offered high quality college courses at no cost to incarcerated women, and will continue to grow.
For more insight into our purpose, read feedback and comments from our incarcerated students.
Developed and maintained a strong partnership with the Wyoming Department of Corrections
Established a regular rotation of UW faculty, staff, and supervised students to teach at multiple correctional facilities through in person and remote instruction
Offered a range of courses to hundreds of incarcerated students (see the Latest Work page for details)
Assisted with the upgrade of dated correctional facility classroom technology
Collaborated with the Correctional Education Association on a national research project and report publication, Higher Education in Prison: A Pilot Study of Approaches and Modes of Delivery in Eight Prison Administrations (2019; available soon)
Published a collection of incarcerated women’s writing in Wagadu: Journal of Transnational Gender & Women’s Studies (2017) based on work completed with 10 UW students, Susan Dewey, and Bonnie Zare at the women’s prison in summer 2016
Organized and hosted the 2019 Symposium on Transformative Education in Prison and Beyond in Laramie, Wyoming; and helped organize the 2016 National Conference on Higher Education in Prison held in Nashville, Tennessee
Nominated for and received multiple awards, including: University of Wyoming's Marvin Millgate Award for Community Engagement (awarded, 2018), National Criminal Justice Association's Outstanding Program Award (nominated, 2018), American Correctional Association's Innovation Award (nominated, 2018), Correctional Education Association's Austin MacCormick Award for best practices in correctional education that can be implemented nationwide (awarded, 2017), University of Wyoming's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award for community collaboration (awarded, 2017)
"We’re not lepers. Some of these girls have no education, and they can’t get access to education because of why they’re here. If they could get educated, have housing, and be able to go out there and be productive in society, things would be different. They wouldn’t come back."
"[We’d like to be able] to go to a school, so even it is some kinda even maybe on the job training, or something where we’re not having to kill ourselves working two jobs… I know that’s what I’d always gone back to is cleaning jobs and waitressing because I know I could get a job because I’ve done it for so long. But then I could never make ends meet. And so then it gets tempting to sell drugs or to just give up and say “why bother?” and be running in circles."