EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Utah Prison Education Project accepts first class of students

Jun 11, 2024, 9:00 PM | Updated: 9:06 pm

The Utah Prison Education Project has officially accepted 15 students. They now can pursue their ag...

The Utah Prison Education Project has officially accepted 15 students. They now can pursue their agree, with access to student resources. (Utah Prison Education Project

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah’s Prison Education Project has just admitted its first group of students from the State Correctional Facility.

Dr. Erin Castro, Associate Dean of Student Access and Community Engagement at the University of Utah, told KSL NewsRadio about how excited her team is to work with these new students. 

Listen 👇 to the full interview with Dr. Castro on Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News here.

A four-month admission process has culminated in a group of 15 students joining the first class of the project.

“We’re really excited to continue working with them now as they pursue a degree,” Castro said.

Castro called the group a “diverse group of students,” with the youngest in the cohort 24-years-old. About three quarters of the students are parents, Castro said. 

How does it work?

The project was launched back in April.

The 15 students have access to a “pretty impressive” computer lab at the prison, according to Castro. 

The program issued students secure books, or laptops specifically designed for correctional facilities. 

Both the laptops and computer lab gives the students access to resources that regularly enrolled University students would have. 

“In many ways what we’re trying to do is replicate as close as we can the experience on campus for students inside the facility,” Castro said. 

Does criminal history matter? 

Students in this program don’t have to disclose criminal history, Castro said. 

However, Castro said once students finish their prison sentence and move to the University of Utah campus, they’ll go through a formal process of criminal history disclosure and work with the Dean of Students to move through the admissions process.  

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

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Utah Prison Education Project accepts first class of students