Freedom Education Project Puget Sound (FEPPS)

Empowering women in prison through higher education

FEPPS provides a rigorous accredited college program to incarcerated women in Washington and creates pathways to educational opportunity after women are released from prison. The goal is to increase women prisoners' economic and personal empowerment, contribute to family stability, and reduce recidivism through college education. As a Signature Initiative of the University of Puget Sound, 23 Puget Sound professors have taught a course or given a lecture at the prison and 15 Puget Sound undergraduates have volunteered to work in study halls.

Background
FEPPS students are female prisoners at the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) and Mission Creek Correctional Center who range in age from eighteen to sixty-five.  The majority of these women have had minimal access to education, come from impoverished backgrounds, and never finished high school.  In 2016, there are 138 women enrolled in FEPPS classes.  

Women are the fastest growing segment of the prison population.  Women in prison have often accrued significant debt; carry the stigma of incarceration; remain under-educated and barred from employment opportunities. This traps them in a cycle of poverty with a higher risk of their children being imprisoned. Education is the single most important factor in breaking this cycle.  According to a 2013 Rand Corporation study, those who go to college while incarcerated are 43% less likely to return to prison than those who do not. 

In 2012, eager for higher education, women prisoners invited a group of professors into the prison to help them build a college program.

 

About the FEPPS Program

  • All 75 professors are volunteers and have a Ph.D. or MA. They come from University of Puget Sound, Tacoma Community College, The Evergreen State College, University of Washington, and Pacific Lutheran University.
  • Out of 1200 incarcerated women in Washington, 138 women are enrolled in FEPPS courses.
  • FEPPS is a Signature Initiative of the University of Puget Sound and a member of the Bard National Consortium of Liberal Arts in Prison.
  • 25 classes a year taught with the same expectations as those on outside campuses.
  • Courses lead to an AA degree from Tacoma Community College.
  • FEPPS students have all enrolled in college upon release, including University of Washington, Bellevue College, Antioch, and Eastern Washington University.

 

For more information about FEPPS

Why College in Prison for Women?

7 out of 10 women return to prison
Education is the single most important factor in breaking the cycle of incarceration. According to a 2013 Rand Corporation study, those who go to college while incarcerated are 43% less likely to return to prison than those who do not.

Women are the fastest growing segment of the prison population.

A Vision for 2020

50% of women prisoners in Washington will be enrolled in college.

FEPPS students will have access to a BA degree.

All students will participate in an education reentry program.