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California’s Best Practices for Students Transitioning From Prison to Campus

January 18, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

California’s Best Practices for Students Transitioning From Prison to Campus
Wednesday, January 18, 2023 | 10:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m. PST
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Incarcerated students are faced with what seem to be endless barriers as they seek to continue their education on-campus post-reentry. Although research shows that the odds of re-entering prison are 48 percent lower for those who take part in post-secondary education programs, ample opportunities still exist to expand educational opportunities and ensure justice-impacted scholars have the tools needed to succeed on-campus. It’s one thing to obtain or work towards a degree while in prison where the resources go directly inside, but what happens upon release? How do these students stay connected to their respective educational institutions? 

Join us on January 18, 2023, to delve into the answers to these questions and more as we discuss California’s Best Practices for Students Transitioning From Prison to Campus. During the event, directly impacted leaders will explore how educational and carceral institutions can work together to ensure student success. 

In addition to sharing their experiences, panelists will dive into the following Best Practices::

  • Creating a process so that transitioning students have access to personal documents such as a state ID, Social Security card, and birth certificate prior to release. 
  • Ensuring that students obtain copies of their transcripts and have PSEPs promptly respond to requests for official transcripts that come from other institutions.
  • Offering clear information to transitioning students regarding California Community Colleges, California State Universities, and Universities of California enrollment and the transfer process.
  • Providing access to affordable, on campus housing, financial aid services, and support. 
  • Facilitating connections and accessing networking opportunities with potential employers in their respective career interests.
  • Offering community resources to provide information about employment and licensing barriers due to conviction while giving assistance to obtain legal advice, as needed, to better assist transitioning students’ pursuit of their careers.

Student, University of California, Irvine (UCI)

Patrick Angel Acuña is a Junior of Social Ecology at the University of California-Irvine who believes in the transformative power of education.

He began his journey while confined within the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay and, having graduated with honors from Southwestern College, now dreams of pursing his postgraduate degree. After three decades of incarceration, Patrick knows that in doing so he’ll be a power house within the prison reform arena.

His biggest accomplishment to date involves G.E.D. tutoring for those convicted of a crime. From personal experience he understands how educational accomplishments are instrumental in reclaiming personal dignity and fundamental in the pursuit higher education.

When he’s not at UC-Irvine, Patrick scours the backcountry for hidden fishing holes with his yellow Lab, Nash, by his side.

Advisory Committee Member, Rising Scholars Network, Cypress College

Nohealani Casperson is an undergraduate student at Cypress college and cross enrolled at U.C. Berkeley where she is majoring in Human Services. Her interest in helping people began during her own recovery process; inspired by this experience, Nohealani started working at Melrose recovery. Nohealani aspires to pursue a career as an MSW. When she is not busy reading or writing as most undergraduate students, she enjoys traveling.

Director, UCI, Leveraging Inspiring Futures Through Educational Degrees (LIFTED)

Keramet Reiter is Professor and Vice Chair of Criminology, Law & Society at the University of California, Irvine. She studies prisons, prisoners’ rights, and the impact of prison and punishment policy on individuals, communities, and legal systems. She is the author of two books: 23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement (Yale University Press, 2016) and Mass Incarceration (Oxford University Press, 2017). She is the Director of LIFTED, a program to offer University of California BA degrees to incarcerated students, and the co-founder of UCI PrisonPandemic, a digital archive of incarcerated Californian’s stories of living through the COVID-19 pandemic.

McNair Scholar, Project Rebound, California State University, Fullerton

Moderated by:
Program Manager, Smart Justice, Michelson 20MM

California’s Best Practices: Pathways From Prison, created by The Smart Justice Think Tank, provides a set of detailed strategies that stakeholders can implement to support students across three key phases of the carceral system-impacted student experience.


Image credit: Project Rebound California State University, Fullerton; Cypress College, Liberated Intellects for Excellence (LIFE) Program; and Rising Scholars, Mt. San Antonio College. Michelson 20MM is a private, nonprofit foundation seeking to accelerate progress towards a more just world through grantmaking, operating programs, and impact investing. Co-chaired and funded by Alya and Gary Michelson, Michelson 20MM is part of the Michelson Philanthropies network of foundations.


January 18, 2023
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Event Category:




Michelson 20MM Foundation
View Organizer Website