The University of Scranton Prison Education Initiative


"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me."

                              Matthew 25: 35-36


"The call to the margins, led by those we find there, is exhilarating and life-giving and renews our nobility and purpose. For this, we all long. The time is now, as never before, to put terror and defense to one side and find our human connection to the margins, where the original program is meant to take place."

                        Gregory Boyle, S. J.
                        Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship (2017)

Inspired by the work of Gregory Boyle, S.J., the founder and guiding presence of Homeboy Industries, the Prison Education Initiative seeks to establish an education program that will demonstrate--for our University, and for our larger community in Northeastern Pennsylvania, for higher education more broadly, and for the larger society--"the power of radical kinship" that is central to Catholic and Jesuit education. In Father Boyle’s words, we are proposing a re-affirmation and re-imagination of “the original program.”

At the heart of the Prison Education Initiative is a modest program to provide a University of Scranton education to inmates in Northeastern Pennsylvania. We propose to offer an Associate of Arts degree at the State Correctional Institution--Dallas (SCI--Dallas) in Luzerne County. Starting during the 2020/2021 academic year, our faculty will offer six courses each year (two each summer, two each fall semester, and two each spring semester) in a sequence that will provide an opportunity for inmates to complete the degree in just over three years. In this way, we will provide inmates with academic credits and a degree that will allow them to continue their education after their release. More important, we will provide them with an opportunity for the reflection and the cultivation of human dignity at the heart of a Jesuit education. We also plan to integrate the Prison Education Initiative with the work of the University of Scranton's Center for the Analysis and Prevention of Crime (CAPoC), as part of a larger strategy to expand the Center's intellectual and interdisciplinary breadth and, in doing so, to increase its capacity to address important contemporary movements for criminal justice reform in accordance with principles of Catholic Social Teaching and restorative justice. (See the 2000 statement by the United States Catholic Bishops, "Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice.") Any comprehensive approach to criminal justice reform will need to include a compelling vision of education.


Associate in Arts

Associate in Arts Curriculum


Department and Number - Descriptive Title of Course


 General Education



COMM 100 - (FYOC) Public Speaking –WRTG 107 - (FYW) Composition  



C/IL 102/102L - (FYDT) Computing and Information Literacy –Math Elective



PHIL 120 - Introduction to Philosophy –T/RS 121 - Theology I: Introduction to the Bible  



PHIL 210 - Ethics –T/RS 122 - Theology II: Introduction to Christian Theology  



S/BH ELECT–Social/Behavioral Electives



NSCI ELECT–Natural Science Electives




(includes humanities, social/behavioral sciences, philosophy, theology, natural sciences, mathematics)



ELECT–Humanities/Major Electives



Total: 60 Credits

* Liberal Arts includes humanities, social/behavioral sciences, philosophy, theology and natural sciences/mathematics.


To see explanation for courses listed and Underlined see this link and click on courses.