About FPEP

Founded in 2017, FPEP is an initiative of the University of Central Florida that seeks to offer a high-quality undergraduate education to people who are incarcerated in Central Florida.

Mass incarceration is among the most crucial issues of our time. Although the United States comprises only 5% of the world’s population, we house more than 25% of its prisoners, and since 1978, the U.S. prison population has increased by 408%.

Each year, 33,000 people are released from Florida prisons, and another 80,000 are released from community supervision. Approximately a third of these ex-offenders will be rearrested within 3 years, but evidence shows that education increases the likelihood of post-release employment by 58%, reduces recidivism by 40%, and saves taxpayers money. Yet, until recently, Florida was one of only 12 states that did not offer any college courses to prisoners.

Research shows that desistance, or the process by which people learn to be law-abiding citizens, is supported by three main factors: social bonds, educational attainment, and employment.

By 2020, an estimated 65% of all jobs will require postsecondary education, but most prisoners in Florida have limited access to higher education, despite the fact that statistical evidence overwhelmingly confirms that a college education reduces recidivism, increases employment opportunities, and strengthens communities. As the largest university in the state, UCF is well-positioned to bring transformative education to those behind bars.

The Florida Prison Education Project draws upon the unique strengths and assets of UCF to offer impactful programs in mixed modalities that focus on building social relationships, matriculating students, and preparing them for employment in the 21st-century global economy.

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