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Pathways From Prison to College in Action: Learnings from UC Irvine’s Bachelor’s in Prison Program

March 13 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Pathways From Prison to College in Action: Learnings from UC Irvine’s Bachelor’s in Prison Program

Wednesday, March 13, 2024 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. PST
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Join The Michelson 20MM Foundation on March 13, 2024, as we highlight the University of California, Irvine’s (UCI), Leveraging Inspiring Educational Futures Through Educational Degrees (LIFTED) program, which is currently the only UC program teaching inside prisons. In the midst of their second year, the UCI LIFTED team will discuss the process of developing their programs, how they are incorporating “California’s Best Practices: Pathways From Prison to College,” and the barriers they have yet to overcome. Additionally, we will have a special guest from UC Riverside LIFTED as they get ready to kick off the second UC program teaching inside prisons this coming fall.

Pathways From Prison to College in Action highlights programs and organizations throughout the state that are currently implementing “California’s Best Practices: Pathways From Prison to College,” a resource that lays out detailed strategies to support currently and formerly incarcerated students in their educational journey.

The “In Action” series highlights programs and organizations across the state that are implementing strategies from the report. We are committed to ensuring that all currently and formerly incarcerated individuals have an equal opportunity to succeed as students and beyond.


Dr. Keramet Reiter 
Director, UCI LIFTED

Keramet Reiter studies prisons, prisoners’ rights, and the impact of prison and punishment policy on individuals, communities, and legal systems. She uses a variety of methods in her work—including interviewing, archival and legal analysis, and quantitative data analysis—in order to understand both the history and impact of criminal justice policies, from medical experimentation on prisoners and record clearing programs to gun control laws and the use of long-term solitary confinement in the United States and internationally.

Program Officer, UCI LIFTED

Jennifer Gomez is Program Coordinator for UC Irvine’s LIFTED Program and ACCESS Ambassador for Cal Voices, the oldest continuously operating peer-run consumer advocacy agency in California. Gomez is a formerly incarcerated alumni of the University of California (UC) San Diego, where she received her B.A. in Political Science with a concentration in Race, Ethnicity and Politics. She has successfully worked towards securing on-going funding from the California State Legislature for justice impacted students and has helped implement policy change through SB990 (county of transfer) and SB629 (identification cards). Gomez currently serves on multiple boards and committees of social justice seeking organizations, including Chair of the San Diego Re-entry Roundtable’s Policy and Procedure/Legislative Committee and Secretary of the Rising Scholars Mentorship Program at Southwestern College. Her purpose in life is to use her lived experience with addiction, behavioral health and the criminal legal system to advocate for and help empower others and to affect policy change to end systemic barriers and mass incarceration.

Ryan Flaco Rising
Formerly Incarcerated System Impacted Peer Educator, UCI Transfer Student Center

Ryan Flaco Rising is the founder of the West Coast Credible Messengers Program, as well as a PhD student in Criminology Law and Society at UCI. Ryan’s lived experience as a formerly incarcerated gang involved youth and adult deeply informs the work he does around assisting formerly incarcerated students and gang involved individuals in their transition into the UC system, bringing to the table a unique first-hand perspective.

Flaco Rising’s research interests center on creating pathways for formerly incarcerated and gang involved individuals into higher education and analyzing the evolution of programs that serve formerly incarcerated students within the university system. He has been a part of the Underground Scholars program since his release from New Folsom State Prison in 2015. Flaco Rising founded the Gaucho Underground Scholars Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara while completing his bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in education. There, he played a critical role in the leadership and statewide expansion of the Underground Scholars Programs, now active on almost every University of California campus.

Having won many prestigious awards, his writing has been published in a variety of newspapers, as well as in the book Reclaiming Our Stories. Flaco Rising’s work is a testament to the power of formerly incarcerated students.

Farah Godrej
Co-Founding Director, UCR LIFTED

Farah Godrej is Professor of Political Science at UCR. Her areas of research and teaching include Indian political thought, Gandhi’s political thought, cosmopolitanism, globalization, and comparative political theory. She also studies contemporary issues, such as environmental justice, food politics, and mass incarceration. Godrej’s research appears in many journals, including Political Theory and Political Research Quarterly; she is also the author of Cosmopolitan Political Thought: Method, Practice, Discipline. Godrej’s new book, Freedom Inside? Yoga and Meditation in the Carceral State, is the winner of the 2023 Charles Taylor Book Award from the American Political Science Association, it also received honorable mentions for the 2023 American Association of Publishers (AAP) PROSE award for scholarly excellence and the 2023 Lee Ann Fujii Award for Innovation in the Interpretive Study of Political Violence from the American Political Science Association. She is the Co-Founding Director of UCR LIFTED, which offers a UCR B.A. degree to incarcerated students.

Professor Godrej is actively involved in the discipline, having served on the Executive Council of the Western Political Science Association (WPSA), as past program co-chair for the Foundations of Political Theory section of the American Political Science Association (APSA) and the Critical and Normative Political Theory section of the WPSA, as well as program chair of the Interpretive Methods and Methodologies (IMM) related group at the APSA. She has supported the editorial boards of the American Political Science Review (APSR) and the Journal of Politics (JoP), among several other journals, and has served on numerous prize and award committees.




March 13
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Event Category:


Michelson 20MM Foundation
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