Redeeming Scholars

The concept for the Redeeming Scholars project came to Oregon Solutions from individuals with an incarceration background and individuals with a post-education background. Formerly incarcerated Randy Shaw and Gunner Johnson started and are lead members of the project. They, and other stakeholders, are interested in creating a campus-based, peer mentoring program to help formerly incarcerated individuals access post-secondary education, including the trades, community colleges, and universities.

The project team is composed of individuals who represent formerly incarcerated individuals, academia, the trades, corrections, nonprofit organizations, parole and probation staff, courts, foundations, and more. The proposed project is similar to other programs that currently exists, like one at sixteen California State University campuses. The team has worked collaboratively to develop the program framework and has begun to identify systemic challenges that may need to be addressed.

University of California Berkeley research shows that individuals with an incarceration experience who attain any amount of post-secondary education are less likely to recidivate than their peers, and they are better positioned to contribute to the well-being of their communities.

The vision of the project team is that a campus-based mentorship program will support equity in accessing high-quality education, training, and career opportunities for people who are formerly incarcerated. Their hope is this will contribute to reversing the school-to-prison pipeline by fostering a community that is welcoming and supportive. Additionally, their mission is to help individuals achieve their educational and career goals, build mentorship and leadership skills, and navigate common obstacles to successful re-entry into society.

Background and Resources