Prison Education Program

Prison Education Program

Antelope Valley College launched a face-to-face Prison Education Program in the California State Prison Los Angeles County, Lancaster,  in Spring 2016. The college was one of four community colleges around the state to be awarded a grant to start a program in a Level III/IV facility after the  passing of 2014 Senate Bill 1391. Under the new legislation, community colleges could receive full funding to bring certificate and degree programs to incarcerated students. The bill expanded access to community college courses leading to certificates and degrees with an aim to enhance workforce skills or aid transfer to four-year university programs. The bill called for collaboration between the CDCR and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office for the purpose of entering into an agreement to expand face-to-face prison instruction. 

Proposition 57, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act, was passed by voters in 2016 whereby, among other things, inmates who demonstrate good behavior and participate in educational programs can earn Milestone Completion and Educational Merit credits that can lead to early consideration for parole.  Research shows a 43% reduction in recidivism associated with education in custody, and 51% lower odds of recidivating for college programs. Higher education credentials and degrees reap significant economic benefits for returning individuals and their communities.*  

Currently AVC offers a Communications Studies Associate's Degree-to-Transfer on Facility A Progressive programming yard) and Facility B (general population.) Students on Facility A have an opportunity to continue their education and earn a bachelor's degree in Communications through California State University Los Angeles, which is also offering face-to-face instruction in the prison. 

For more information, contact Cathy Hart, Dean, Palmdale Center & Extended Learning:


* (2017) "Renewing Communities: California Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education," The Opportunity Institute,

Last updated: March 28, 2022