Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons

Drew University Extends the NJ-STEP Pipeline with Spring 2022 Launch of Master’s Level Pilot Program

Excerpted from https://www.state.nj.us/corrections, 12/8/21 press release

Drew University will be joining the consortium of degree-granting higher education institutions, which includes Rutgers University and Raritan Valley Community College, as part of the New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons (NJ-STEP) initiative to provide educational services to the New Jersey incarcerated population. East Jersey State Prison in Rahway is the first institution to offer post-graduate credits.

“At East Jersey we have the highest number of people who have graduated from NJ-STEP, completing their associate’s and their bachelor’s degree,” said Dr. Darcella Sessomes, NJDOC Assistant Commissioner, Division of Programs and Community Services. “We are excited to launch this program at East Jersey State Prison for those individuals who wish to take the next step in their continuing educational journey.”

Officials from Drew and other colleges toured East Jersey State Prison to assess educational spaces and determine the interest in and viability of the program. “Our pilot graduate certificate program is in religious leadership and social transformation, and is open to people of all faiths or no faith tradition,” said Rev. Dr. Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre Interim Dean of Drew Theological School. “The interdisciplinary program has its roots in
theological studies and develops leadership for the common good.”
Students in the program gain experience in graduate studies earning them 15 credits and a head start to pursue a master’s degree in their field of interest.

The pilot program is scheduled to offer its first class to coincide with the 2022 spring semester.

Full NJDOC press release here.


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