New program set up to support formerly incarcerated students


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The Re-Emerging Scholars program is new on campus and it helps formerly incarcerated students be successful in their academics. It is meant to provide peer support and help find employment opportunities.

The Re-Emerging Scholars program is setting itself up to support formerly incarcerated students over the next two semesters, said the program’s coordinator Professor Georgine Hodgkinson.

On Jan. 28 an info session was held to educate people on the program. This will not only be academic assistance, but to help find employment opportunities and peer support, said Hodgkinson.

“We hope to create a stronger sense of community with this program, as well as help fight against the cultural bias of incarceration,” said Hodgkinson.

During the info session, attendees provided their own experiences with incarceration and how it has affected their lives afterwards. This included student Jose Ruiz, who had been imprisoned after the establishment of the three strikes law in 1994.

“The barriers now are much higher now than back when I got out,” said Ruiz. “Just to be out in everyday life alone can be a struggle.”

This semester will be the first time Cosumnes River College will have the program available, said Hodgkinson. The program is modeled after one of the same name at Sacramento City College, said Hodgkinson.

“The next two semesters will be a sort of testing period,” said Hodgkinson. “Our focus will be to try and get the program up and running.”

In order to do this, Hodgkinson said the program will be using the spring semester to set up two main milestones. One of these will be a club for formerly incarcerated students and their allies.

“We hope to be able to provide a support system for these students,” said Hodgkinson. “We also hope this will give an opportunity for people to discuss some of the issues of mass incarceration.

Hodgkinson also said they plan to set up an eight-week course for formerly incarcerated students. Counselor Chris Torres will be working with the program to set up this course, said Hodgkinson.

“The course will be a multifaceted class,” said Torres. “The students in it will be able to learn what’s out there for them in terms of support and opportunities.”

Torres said he believed it’s important for the students to receive help from people who both understood and shared their experiences.

“Ten years ago when I showed up at Sac State with blemishes on my record, I wouldn’t have thought I’d end up where I am,” said Torres. “I want to show them how it’s done, and help them with these challenges.”