Quinnipiac University

Second Chance Educational Alliance Inc. co-founder named Prison Project coordinator

June 08, 2021

Erin Corbett

Erin Corbett has been named coordinator of The Prison Project at Quinnipiac, which aims to advance social justice through increasing incarcerated student access to higher education opportunities.

"I'm excited to have Erin join our team,” said Don C. Sawyer III, vice president for equity and inclusion and associate professor of sociology at Quinnipiac. “Her expertise and connections will help us to solidify the work of The Prison Project. Erin's drive and determination are contagious and will spark others to join in this important work. I cannot wait to see where we go as a result of her leadership and vision."

Corbett is co-founder and CEO of the Second Chance Educational Alliance Inc., an in-prison program that offers credit-bearing and not-for-credit college courses to confined learners. She has spent almost two decades in education access in a number of roles. With experience in independent school admission, enrichment programs and postsecondary financial aid, her commitment to expanding postsecondary opportunities for all populations has served as the foundation of her professional endeavors.

“I launched my own program in 2016, having long admired the work of Quinnipiac's Prison Project,” Corbett said. “As one of the longest-running, quality college-in-prison programs in the state of Connecticut, the Quinnipiac Prison Project’s reputation precedes it. I am honored and humbled to assume this new role and hope it leads to increased collaboration across the state with other higher education institutions.”

While pursuing her doctorate, Corbett launched the Second Chance Educational Alliance to provide not-for-credit, postsecondary courses in correctional facilities in Connecticut. In addition to management duties, she also has taught in two correctional facilities in Rhode Island through College Unbound and has been a guest lecturer, via Zoom, to incarcerated students in the Iowa Medical Classification Center through the University of Iowa Liberal Arts Beyond Bars program.

Corbett has been a guest lecturer in higher education policy at the University of Michigan and was a higher education policy adjunct professor at Howard University in Spring 2019. Other notable speaking engagements include events hosted by Eastern Connecticut State University and Connecticut College. Most recently, Corbett was the assistant director for applied research at the Institute for Higher Education Policy focusing on federal policy related to the intersection of higher education policy and policy related to educational access for justice-impacted people. In addition, she was the director of policy at the Katal Center for Health, Equity and Justice before transitioning to working with SCEA full time and consulting.

Corbett holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and education from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. She earned her MBA from Post University in Connecticut and her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, where her dissertation examined the relationship between educational attainment level and post-release employment outcomes for formerly incarcerated people in the state of Connecticut.

Since 2011, Quinnipiac’s Prison Project has partnered with Trinity College to provide free, postsecondary education to women at York Correctional Institution. Since 2016, The Prison Project has sponsored the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program for men at the Garner and Robinson correctional institutions and, more recently, to women at York Correctional Institution.

Inside-Out allows on-campus students to learn alongside incarcerated students. The Prison Project also offers postsecondary classes in sociology and criminal justice to men at Garner Correctional Institution. In addition, The Prison Project offers seminars, presentations and programs based on the idea that reforming punishment practices in the United States requires a communion of activists, scholars, students and teachers.

Click here for more information about The Prison Project.

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