MARIETTA, Ga., Feb. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This summer, Life University will launch The Chillon Project, a degree-granting program for incarcerated students in the Georgia prison system — the only program of its kind offered by a college or university based in the state of Georgia since 1994.
"Incarcerated persons who earn a Bachelor's degree while in prison have recidivism rates of less than 3 percent, compared to rates of up to 70 percent for the general population," says Brendan Ozawa-de Silva, Ph.D., program director of The Chillon Project.
The Chillon Project is an undertaking of Life University's Center for Compassion, Integrity and Secular Ethics (CCISE) together with the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC); it will be one of the only degree-granting programs in the Southeast. An innovative feature is the inclusion of scholarships for GDC correctional officers, as well as their family members, to pursue higher education at Life University.
Life University President Guy Riekeman, D.C. and the CCISE have shared initiatives like The Chillon Project with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In December 2015, they received a letter from the Dalai Lama commending LIFE's efforts. "As someone who believes strongly in the possibility and potential of individuals to change, I feel that the focus of a society's justice system should always be on rehabilitation rather than punishment," writes the Dalai Lama. "I am delighted to hear that Life University and its [CCISE], through a program they call 'The Chillon Project,' has now developed a degree program for people imprisoned in the state of Georgia."
Pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, The Chillon Project will offer an Associate of Arts degree in Positive Human Development and Social Change, with plans to expand to a B.A. in three years. The curriculum includes coursework in positive psychology, business and social entrepreneurship, peace studies and other disciplines. The project will enroll 15 incarcerated students at the Lee Arrendale State Prison in Alto, Georgia during its initial year, as well as provide scholarships to 15 Lee Arrendale State Prison correctional staff or their family members. Enrollment will increase in subsequent years, and the program will open to incarcerated women throughout the state.
"We are convinced that there is a better way to handle incarceration, and are grateful to the GDC and to Governor Deal for this opportunity," says Dr. Riekeman. "Our hope is that what we are doing in Georgia and at Life University will become a model for other states and universities to follow."
Learn more about The Chillon Project at LIFE.edu/CCISE.
Founded in Marietta, Georgia in 1974, Life University awards baccalaureate, master's and Doctor of Chiropractic degrees. Learn more at LIFE.edu.
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