Cerro Coso Graduates 35 students from Tehachapi Correctional Institution
Cerro Coso's Coyote Corner
February 3, 2024
Cerro Coso Community College, along with Sonya Christian, State Chancellor of California Community Colleges, is proud to announce the graduation of 35 students from our Incarcerated Student Education Program at the Tehachapi California Correctional Institution.
Combined, these students earned nearly 100 associate degrees. Those include arts and humanities; social and behavioral sciences; psychology; administration of justice for transfer; anthropology for transfer and business administration for transfer.
Cerro Coso was honored to have State Chancellor, Sonya Christian, in attendance, who is making inmate education programs a key part of community college education plans across California.
"Vision 2030 focuses on increasing equitable access, success and support for justice-impacted students. The achievements of these graduates in the Incarcerated Student Education Program illustrate for all the impact such investments are making," said Christian.
Through a partnership with the Tehachapi California Correctional Institution and the State of California, Cerro Coso is dedicated to supporting the education and rehabilitation of justice-impacted students. Education is a key piece of prison rehabilitation efforts. By pursuing education and obtaining their degrees, these students have opened new doors for success when their sentences end. Those open doors have a dramatic impact on recidivism, allowing individuals to leave their pasts behind and become productive members of our communities.
"I have learned to redirect my fears of failing into confidence for success. My future is very bright with the opportunities that having a college education has provided," said graduate Christopher Dacosta.
"I know this education will stay with us long after we are away from these walls, and living a life that has purpose, integrity, honesty and respect. I am proud to be a graduate from Cerro Coso Community College," said graduate Marcus Barnett.
Cerro Coso Community College's Incarcerated Student Program was launched in 2015 following the passage of Senate Bill 1391, which allowed the formation of face-to-face community college programs inside prisons. Since then, 400 incarcerated students have graduated from Cerro Coso with nearly 1,000 degrees. Cerro Coso currently has 450 students actively enrolled in prison education programs.
"We take immense pride in the success of our justice-involved students. Not only have they gained the knowledge and learned the skills necessary for economic and career success, but they have also grown as people, as citizens and as individuals committed to equity and justice. Every single student has demonstrated that they have the strength to persevere and shape their own future," said Sean Hancock, president of Cerro Coso Community College.