Newly released RAND guidebook helps corrections officials launch college programs for prison inmates

LOS ANGELESJuly 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Corrections officials have a new resource to expand delivery of instructional services to incarcerated populations, thanks to a new guidebook released by RAND. The guidebook was developed thanks to a Michelson 20MM Foundation Spark Grant to support corrections officials with the establishment and implementation of higher education in prison programming.

The new RAND guidebook forms part of Michelson 20MM’s Smart Justice Initiative, which creates innovative pathways to educational attainment, employment, and economic opportunity for system-impacted communities and people.

“What Corrections Officials Need to Know to Partner with Colleges to Implement College Programs in Prisons” is now available on the RAND website.

Co-authored by the late John Linton, former director of correctional education in the U.S. Department of Education, and Lois M. Davis, senior policy researcher at RAND Corporation, the guide addresses the limited resources available to corrections officials and brings into one publication a succinct summary of what they need to know. Its content will also help colleges better understand the needs of those running prison facilities.

“Not enough has been written from the perspective of what corrections officials need to know,” said Davis. “This straightforward guidebook is intended to address this gap.”

“Davis does an exceptional job of giving the non-correctional stakeholder perspective on what starting a program in prison takes,” said Heather Gay, Education Manger at the Michigan Department of Corrections. “This publication also lends itself to marrying the concept of post-secondary education to the overall goal and mission of corrections institutions.”

Divided into four sections, the guide features:

  • The basics of in-prison college programs
  • When in-prison college programs make sense
  • What is needed to implement college programs in prison
  • Additional resources

“Thanks to a growing body of research, we know that two-thirds of those who leave prison are back within three years, often due to a lack of education or training opportunities. Meanwhile, two-thirds of jobs require some level of college education,” said Dr. Gary K. Michelson, founder and co-chair of the Michelson 20MM Foundation. “Therefore, college programming in prisons is critical to making meaningful employment possible post-release, and we hope this resource will help accelerate these efforts.”

About the Michelson 20MM Foundation
Michelson 20MM is a private, nonprofit foundation seeking to accelerate progress towards a more just world through grantmaking, operating programs, and impact investing. For more information, visit

Contact: Geoffrey Baum, or 310-806-9707