PiFO partners with Corban University (CU) and the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC).
What is the goal?
To provide an opportunity for Adults in Custody (AIC’s) throughout the Oregon prison system to obtain an accredited 4 year college degree. The degree will be a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts with an emphasis on Psychology, Social Services and Leadership. The graduates will become moral and spiritual leaders within the prison system.
What is the role of PiFO?
PiFO will fund all the costs necessary for CU to maintain the college in the Oregon State Correctional Institution. These costs include: salaries for professors, textbooks, laptop computers, classroom equipment and supplies. PiFO is funded solely through the generosity of its supporters and the core belief that God will provide as needed.
Is the goal of PiFO only to change the AIC and the prison culture?
NO. There have already been changes outside the prison in the families of the AIC’s. This program is giving hope to the AIC’s children, spouses, mothers, fathers, and siblings with the knowledge that their loved one’s life now has a purpose.
How many AIC’s will be in each class?
PiFO will have 25 students in each cohort. There will be a new cohort every fall semester.
In which prison is the CU extension located?
The Oregon State Correctional Institution (OSCI) in Salem. Successful applicants to the college will be transferred from their prison, regardless of where it is located in Oregon, to OSCI.
Who is eligible to apply?
Any AIC in the Oregon prison system who has at least 8 years left on his sentence at the time of application, has a high school degree or GED and has at least a 1 year clean disciplinary record immediately preceding the application.
Why at least “8 years” remaining on the sentence?
After the AIC obtains his degree in 4 years, the graduate will be sent out to other prisons across the state to help with education, mental health, peer mentoring, suicide watch, gang renunciation, hospice or in any other role in which the DOC desires to use him. This 8-year requirement affords the graduate an opportunity to “give back” for the free education that he has received. The impact of these graduates on other AIC’s will help change the culture of the prison system from the inside out.
Is this an online program?
NO. Professors from CU will teach in a live classroom setting at OSCI.
What about the classroom at OSCI?
The classroom area which is approximately 3300 square feet was remodeled in late 2019 and finished in early 2020. The costs of the remodel were funded entirely by PiFO. The final cost of the remodel was $684,500.00. This is the largest gift ever given to the DOC. These funds were donated by individuals, trusts and private businesses who wanted to see an opportunity for Oregon’s AIC’s to receive a transformative education and become spiritual and moral leaders in the prison system.
Is there a faith requirement for applicants?
NO. The CU extension in OSCI is open to all faiths: Buddhists, Catholics, Protestants, LDS, Muslims, Jews, Native American spiritualists, Wicca, Jehovah Witnesses, etc. And to no faith: atheists and agnostics. There are no restrictions.
Why not the women’s prison in Oregon?
Because the average length of a sentence for a woman in Oregon is 3.5 years.
Are other states doing something like Oregon?
YES. There are 17 states, in addition to Oregon, that have similar programs for transformative education with bachelor’s degrees. Here are some: Louisiana, Texas, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Why do it?
Besides changing the culture of the prison system from within, 95% of the AIC’s in the Oregon prison system will eventually be released back into our communities. How do we want them to come back? With hardened hearts and a 45 strapped to their waistband? Or, with transformed hearts and college degrees or even Bibles in their hands.
How can I get involved?
Besides prayer and financial support, consider signing up for PiFO’s weekly email, signing up for the Fall Banquet on September 26, and/or becoming a pen pal with one of our students.