Incarcerated Student Education Program

iwv campus at dusk


Cerro Coso Community College's Incarcerated Student Education Program began in 2015, following the passage of Senate Bill 1391. This policy shifted the apportionment for colleges and allowed face-to-face programs to begin inside of prison. This investment by the State of California is a unique approach to a successful partnership for rehabilitation and safer communities.

I was transferred to Cal City prison as a disciplinary action [18 months earlier]. When I arrived here, there was a buzz around the facility that I have never experience in this environment [i'm a multi-termer]. Everywhere I turned, people were talking about what classes they have, what homework was due, how many units they needed to complete their degree. I found myself on the outside of conversations involving topics like politics, social behavior, psychology, different periods of art, etc. I had to see what this was all about.

After this semester I will have an accumulated 36 units and on track to complete my first degree by this summer or fall. I have a counselor that keeps me accountable with progress reports, makes sure that I have books and supplies, and helps me...set short and long term educational goals. I now plan to transfer to a CSU on release for my Bachelor's.

For the first time in a long time, I don't feel like a “lost cause.” -CAC Student

About the Program

Cerro Coso's Incarcerated Student Education Program (ISEP) is currently serving the California City Correctional Facility and Tehachapi California Correctional Institution.

From our humble beginnings of 19 students in one class in 2015, we now serve over 1000 students each year and offer seven transferable degree pathways.

Our students are thriving in the comprehensive program and succeeding in unprecedented ways. Since 2015, Cerro Coso's ISEP has served over 2100 students with transferable course offerings and degree pathways and preparing individuals for re-entry into society.

ISEP Presentation

“The Cerro Coso Professors here at C.A.C. are exceptionally encouraging and inspirational...they convey a sincere passion and desire to see us succeed as students and as individuals who will re-enter every day society.” -CAC Student

“Through the opportunity to join societies, like PTK, a sense of confidence grows in being able to live well, with purpose” -CCI Student

“September 14...was quite an exciting sight. We held tutoring groups and the library was packed to capacity. I made a comment to my class about how awesome it was to see that many people working together to learn. They could have been out on the yard or messing around...watching T.V. or playing cards, but they made the choice to be there.”

Thank you for this opportunity, -Student/tutor in CCI

Contact Us

For media inquiry guidelines, contact the Public Information Office.

To request information from the Prison Education Program or ask the Cerro Coso team to speak on social justice, please email

  • Anna Carlson, Program Director, Incarcerated Student Education
  • Kristie Nichols, Program Technician, Incarcerated Student Education
  • Celena Tuitt, Department Assistant II, Incarcerated Student Education
  • Peter Fulks, Associate Professor Administration of Justice; Faculty Coordinator
  • Alec Griffin, Professor Anthropology & Sociology; Faculty Coordinator