ATLANTA — An initiative working to provide higher education for incarcerated people throughout the state of Georgia has been selected to join the second class of an innovative new fellowship that supports America’s up-and-coming social change leaders.
The co-executive director of Georgia Coalition for Higher Ed. in Prison (GACHEP), Patrick Rodriguez, has been selected by the Fund for New Leadership's second fellowship cohort, a multi-year program that provides early-stage organizations with $75,000 in unrestricted funds per year for three years.
After spending over four years in Georgia’s prison system, Rodriguez embarked on a journey to ensure more people in prisons can access a broader range of associate degree programs.
Driven by his first-hand understanding of how education and rehabilitation can transform lives of young adults experiencing incarceration, Rodriguez and GACHEP have spent years expanding in-prison degree programs, increasing enrollment of newly incarcerated students, and creating reentry initiatives to support continued education post-release.
Rodriguez said this recognition means a lot to their mission.
"This program is an investment in the individuals who are creating social impact change," he said.
The prison advocate also serves as the interim director of Georgia State University’s Prison Education Project which also works to bring higher education into prisons, to facilitate education for those who have been incarcerated, and to educate our on-campus students about issues of mass incarceration.