The Washington University Prison Education Project was established when a group of faculty, who were interested in teaching elite college courses in prison, began meeting in 2011.  In 2014, they secured funding from the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison and began teaching for-credit, college-level classes at the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center (MECC) in Pacific, Missouri. In 2015, the Office of the Provost at Washington University also provided funding for PEP.  As of Fall 2016, PEP is the only program of its kind that is principally funded by the university. In addition to offering courses for incarcerated students, PEP also offers courses for correctional staff.

“PEP is a vanguard program that is doing exactly what universities were meant to do – to spread access to knowledge in the service of the public good.  I look forward to many more years of teaching with the PEP and encourage others from both within and outside the university to join in supporting the project.” 
– Bret Gustafson, Summer 2018, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology 


Washington University’s Prison Education Project would not be able to function day to day without the generous contributions of time, finances and input of organizations on the WashU Campus and across the WashU and St. Louis community. The Prison Education Project is extremely grateful for them and the support they that allows PEP to continue to run and grow.