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The Calvin Prison Initiative

The CPI started in 2015 and today offers a Bachelor of Arts in Faith and Community' Leadership. Each year we accept 20 incarcerated students; thus, over the course of the five-year curriculum the program will have 100 CPI students. Our students come from approximately 15 prisons in Michigan and most are serving life or long-term sentences. The student body is richly diverse in its racial and ethnic identity, class and educational backgrounds, and religious and nonreligious traditions, and represents communities throughout Michigan. CPI students are full-time and will take five years to complete the program. However, there are significant milestones along the way. After earning 30 credit hours, first-year students receive a certificate of completion, and after 60 credit hours they receive an Associate’s degree in Ministry Leadership. Upon completion of 124 credit hours, students receive their Bachelor’s degree in Faith and Community' Leadership.

One of the goals of the CPI is to offer prisoners an opportunity to receive a university degree that equips them for significant moral and spiritual leadership within Michigan’s prisons. Simply put, we hope CPI students and graduates will be “agents of renewal” within Michigan’s prisons, offering significant opportunities for inmate rehabilitation. Currently, three areas of opportunities exist for engaging general population inmates

(those not enrolled in the CPI): education, ministry, and life skills. In regard to education, CPI students arc able to provide academic instruction, tutoring, and curriculum development. In terms of ministry, students serve as assistant chaplains, lead worship services, provide grief counseling, act as spiritual directors, and will eventually be church planters. For life skills, students offer job-skill training, parenting classes, and addiction counseling. In this way, CPI students and graduates will either provide services that do not exist within a given prison or supplement and expand existing programs.

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