Cerro Coso Graduates 35 Students from Tehachapi California Correctional Institution

Photo of graduates of Tehachapi California Correctional Institution

Cerro Coso Community College, along with Dr. Sonya Christian, State Chancellor of California Community Colleges, is proud to announce the graduation of 35 students from our Incarcerated Student Education Program at the Tehachapi California Correctional Institution. Combined, these students earned nearly 100 associate degrees. Those include Arts & Humanities, Social & Behavioral Sciences, Psychology, Administration of Justice for Transfer, Anthropology for Transfer, and Business Administration for Transfer.

Cerro Coso was honored to have State Chancellor Dr. Sonya Christian in attendance, who is making inmate education programs a key part of community college education plans across California. “Vision 2030 focuses on increasing equitable access, success, and support for justice-impacted students. The achievements of these graduates in the Incarcerated Student Education Program illustrate for all the impact such investments are making.” -Dr. Sonya Christian, State Chancellor, California Community Colleges.

Through a partnership with the Tehachapi California Correctional Institution and the State of California, Cerro Coso is dedicated to supporting the education and rehabilitation of justice-impacted students. Education is a key piece of prison rehabilitation efforts. By pursuing education and obtaining their degrees, these students have opened new doors for success when their sentences end. Those open doors have a dramatic impact on recidivism, allowing individuals to leave their pasts behind and become productive members of our communities.

“I have learned to redirect my fears of failing into confidence for success. My future is very bright with the opportunities that having a college education has provided.” – Christopher Dacosta, Graduate

“I know this education will stay with us long after we are away from these walls, and living a life that has purpose, integrity, honesty, and respect. I am proud to be a graduate from Cerro Coso Community College” – Marcus Barnett, Graduate

“We take immense pride in the success of our justice-involved students. Not only have they gained the knowledge and learned the skills necessary for economic and career success, but they have also grown as people, as citizens, and as individuals committed to equity and justice. Every single student has demonstrated that they have the strength to persevere and shape their own future.” -Dr. Sean Hancock, President, Cerro Coso Community College.

Cerro Coso Community College’s Incarcerated Student Program was launched in 2015 following the passage of Senate Bill 1391, which allowed the formation of face-to-face community college programs inside prisons. Since then, 400 incarcerated students have graduated from Cerro Coso with nearly 1000 degrees. Cerro Coso currently has 450 students actively enrolled in prison education programs.