Congresswoman Nikema Williams Delivers $1.6 Million Investment in Morehouse College Higher Education in Prisons Program  

(ATLANTA) – On 404 Day, Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05), a member of the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus delivered a $1.6 million federal investment in the Morehouse College Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership’s (AYCGL) Higher Education in Prisons Program. 

The $1,636,000 is a Community Project Funding Grant Congresswoman Williams secured in March. The investment will be used to expand the reach of Morehouse’s Higher Education in Prisons Program, funding more classes for incarcerated students and providing greater opportunities for engagement with students and faculty at Morehouse College.

Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05), a member of the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus said: 

“My focus in Congress is uplifting marginalized communities, and few communities need this support more than incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals. Historically, we haven’t invested in the futures of incarcerated individuals, and this helps no one. Our prison population—overwhelmingly and disproportionately—is comprised of Black men. It continues to grow, and the recidivism rates are sky high.” 

Congresswoman Williams is an outspoken advocate for social justice and was joined for the announcement by President of Morehouse College David A. Thomas, Ph.D., and a leadership team from the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership at Morehouse College.

President of Morehouse College David A. Thomas, Ph.D. said:

“Morehouse has more moral authority to speak to the issues affecting Black men than any other place on the planet. Our hope with the work that we are doing is that in some way those men getting exposure to the educational resources, pedagogy, and experiences that we know how to provide will increase their human capital. I think that having men who are returning citizens being able to say that they are exposed to Morehouse is sort of the equivalent of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for Black Male Excellence. It may increase the likelihood that someone will give them a second chance so that they can build viable lives after they leave.”

Morehouse Vice Provost Jann Adams, Lead Director of the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership said:

“The award will have a transformative impact on the educational opportunities of incarcerated students in Georgia and will empower us to strengthen the Higher Education in Prisons Program at Morehouse. This will increase the number of courses we offer, the number of students we impact, and will allow us to create a pipeline for a degree.”

Kipton E. Jensen, a Morehouse philosophy professor and leader in the creation of the Higher Education in Prisons Program said:

“I’ve come alive in the last five years (since the prison program’s inception). I’ve seen students and faculty come alive, and, primarily, I’ve seen men inside come alive.”

The Higher Education in Prisons Program at Morehouse has worked for several years to transform the lives of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women in Georgia prisons. Among other things, the federal investment will provide more support to Morehouse faculty members—Prison Education Faculty Teaching Affiliates— who are part of the program, as well as student ambassadors who assist with such work as teaching humanities courses and offering college-preparatory seminars to prison participants. 

Over four years, the Higher Education in Prisons Program has transformed the lives of more than 180 incarcerated students at Metro Reentry in Dekalb County, Burruss Correctional Training Center in Forsyth County, and the Downtown Reentry Program in Fulton County.  With this historic investment, the program will grow to serve approximately 200 incarcerated students a year, increase the number of classes offered from two to eight, and strengthen the Prison Education Ambassadors Program so Morehouse College students can conduct research and provide peer mentoring to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated.

CONTACT: PressGA05@mail.house.gov

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