The Prison Program offers different courses, speakers and events throughout the year.
In December of 2015, the University conferred Associate of Arts degrees to the first cohort of prison staff and incarcerated students from the ERDCC community in Bonne Terre. Staff students participated in midyear commencement exercises on SLU's St. Louis campus, walking across stage with fellow graduates and in the presence of friends, family, and colleagues.
In partnership with the DOC, the University hosted a special graduation ceremony at the ERDCC. University president, Fred Pestello, Ph.D. delivered the commencement address and declared students to be "Sons of Saint Louis University, forever."
A student speaker in the incarcerated class, chosen by his fellow graduates, addressed the audience and spoke of his experience in the SLU Prison Program:
"From the beginning, this program brought my classmates and I together in pursuit of a common goal. We have become friends and a community of scholars, and we will continue to be even as our participation in the degree program comes to an end. An neither is this confined to our small group. We've engaged others in our Bonne Terre community in our work. We held spirited debates about evolutionary biology on the prison yard and math classes in our cells. The readings from our biology course were in such demand that we made photocopies in the library so that we could all study together. Experiences like this made us realize that we have both the capacity and the responsibility to share what we have been given."
The Prison Program has been recognized by both local and national media outlets for the contributions they are making.
- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recognized the SLU Prison Education Program in its 2019 Thanksgiving editorial: An extra toast at Thanksgiving to folks helping make the world better.
- Program Director Paul Lynch joined Lynn Novick and Salih Israil on St. Louis On the Air to discuss higher education in prison and the documentary film: College Behind Bars.
- SLU won the Arcus Award for Achievement in Educational Attainment for its Prison Program and SLU Re-entry Program at the fourth annual Arcus Awards.
- 4th Annual Arcus Awards Honor Innovation, Inclusion, and Collaboration
- Achievement in Educational Attainment Finalist - Saint Louis University Prison Program