Hope College and Western Theological Seminary are focusing on the prison education program. The Hope-Western prison education program started with seven professors from two schools, teaching classes to 20 incarcerated students at Muskegon Correctional Facility.
Ten students served assistance from the college and seminary. Hope is pursuing accreditation for a Bachelor of Arts degree to make Muskegon Correctional Facility a satellite campus.
“Essentially, the prison will become an extension campus of the college, and men housed there will be able to earn a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Faith, Leadership and Service with standards as rigorous as those expected of Holland-based Hope College students,” stated Richard Ray, a professor of kinesiology at Hope.
The plan is to add 20 students every year until the program is fully operational with four cohorts or 80 students. Students will be enlisted from among the 31,000 male prisoners in the 26-prison system operated by the Michigan Department of Corrections.