Cal State LA's Prison Graduation Initiative is the first in-person bachelor's degree completion program for incarcerated students in California.

Transformation through Higher Education

2 prison graduation initiative participants embracing during ceremony

Fostering Hope

The Prison Graduation Initiative transforms the lives of students by offering them the opportunity to graduate with a bachelor's degree from Cal State LA while they are incarcerated.

Since 2016, thirty-seven students have received their Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies while incarcerated, twelve students have paroled and seamlessly completed their degrees on our main campus, and six paroled graduates of the program have completed master’s degrees at Cal State LA.

Allen Burnett, '21

"For me getting a bachelor's degree means more than just getting a piece of paper. I have a responsibility to the people that I harmed to continue my education because this is what I said was going to do. There's a lot of narratives going on, but at the end of the day, it's important because it has an impact on so many other people the same way that my crime did."

Recent Events

The Inaugural Prison Graduation Initiative Convening — Thursday, April 11, 2024

Woman looking at an inmate's work at exhibit

Experience the transformative power of higher education at Cal State LA's inaugural event, where incarcerated bachelor's students showcase their work on collaborative projects with main campus peers.

Faculty and graduate students have the opportunity to explore teaching roles within the Prison Graduation Initiative (PGI) programs. Everyone is invited to engage with current faculty and PGI alumni.

Attendees looking at Art during PGI Event

Community Engagement

Our approach to service learning conceives of the prison as a community, rich with possibilities for our students to apply new knowledge to affect positive change within the prison walls. Service learning also offers our incarcerated students meaningful ways to engage with our campus and local communities through non-profits like WordsUncaged and embeds community-engaged restorative justice practices into the curriculums of our PGI students and those on the main campus.

PGI Office

Student Services Building, 7320
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, Ca 90032
[email protected]
(323) 343-7616