College Initiative

View the latest College Initiative graduation video here. In 2019, 31 students in the College Initiative community earned post-secondary degrees, including AAs, BAs, MSWs, one PhD and one JD.

Creating Pathways from Criminal Justice Involvement to College and beyond

College Initiative (CI), a PRI Educational Initiative, helps make the college dreams of formerly incarcerated and court-involved men and women a reality by providing the guidance and practical assistance they need to enroll in college and succeed there.


CI has made college completion a reality for almost 300 students by building a set of programs, relationships, tools and strategies that empower them as learners, peer mentors and transformative leaders and allow them to negotiate individual, social, and institutional barriers. We do this through three interdependent spheres: (1) engagement; (2) access; and (3) holistic and ongoing support for academic success.

  • Engagement begins with helping a student overcome the assumption that college is beyond them by laying out a clear path to degree completion and embracing an affirmative vision that allows a shift in their identity.
  • Access encompasses student assessment, academic counseling, and CI’s college bridge programming, enabling students to navigate the pervasive bureaucratic and financial barriers to entry into college.
  • Support work provides the continuum of resources and relationships necessary to enable students to persist and thrive in college and to withstand the inevitable pressures and challenges along the way. Our primary support strategy is our nationally recognized peer mentoring program.

If you’re interested in getting started with CI, click here.


CI takes a multidimensional approach to supporting students both pre-release, during the application process and, once enrolled, in college.