‘You go, girl!’: Joy, tears as 19 prison inmates earn college degrees

Updated: May 26, 2020

College graduations are emotional occasions, but it would be hard to match the level of enthusiasm and joy that pervaded the gymnasium at the Washington Corrections Center for Women this month when 19 inmates received diplomas.


Graduates laugh before the Freedom Education Project Puget Sound graduation ceremony at the Washington Corrections Center for Women. This year’s class is nearly five times bigger than last year’s graduating class of four. (Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times)



Nineteen women at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor proudly walk in their royal caps and gowns to their college-graduation ceremony earlier this month. The women earned associate degrees in liberal arts from Tacoma Community College. (Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times)


Parents and grandparents, sons and daughters, cousins and friends and other student inmates filled the room, bursting into applause over and over. Laughing, crying and shouting “You go, girl!” again and again…

“This is the largest women’s prison graduation I have ever seen, and I am so proud,” said Cheryl Wilkins, the senior program manager at Columbia University’s Center for Justice in New York, who flew across the country to give the keynote speech…

A 2013 meta-analysis conducted by the RAND Corp. found that education programs in prison do improve the chances that after inmates are released, they will not return to crime, and that it may improve their chances of getting a job.

Read more at the Seattle Times.

1 view0 comments