Mustang News

Prison Partnership Program Graduates were accepted to the Pitzer College Bachelor’s Completion Initiative Program


 Prison Partnership Program Graduates

On December 10, Pitzer College formally announced the inaugural cohort of eight students for the bachelor's Completion Initiative at the California Rehabilitation Center, Norco.  Pitzer's baccalaureate program is only the second in the state to offer students the opportunity to complete four-year degrees through face-to-face coursework while incarcerated in a state prison. Seven out of the eight students accepted to the cohort are Norco College Prison Partnership Program graduates.


Pitzer's program relies on a partnership with Norco College, which prepares incarcerated students at the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco with the coursework they need to transfer to Pitzer College with junior standing.


“We are so excited to contribute to this path breaking initiative and to see our Norco College alumni succeed at one of the nation's premier liberal arts colleges," said Jessica Cobb, Ph.D., Prison Partnership Program director. “Pitzer's program runs on an accelerated schedule and the inaugural cohort is expected to graduate in December 2021."


View the heartfelt video of the ceremonial college acceptance letter and memorandum of understanding signing event with key speakers, including Pitzer College President Melvin L. Oliver, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Superintendent Shannon Swain from the Office of Correctional Education and admitted students from the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco.


Prison Partnership Program Graduates accepted to Pitzer CollegeSince 2017, Norco College has been a partner of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to offer the Prison Education Program. The program enrolls approximately 250 students each term and offers face-to-face courses that fulfill California State University general education requirements. In January 2019, the first 28 students successfully graduated from the Norco College Prison Education Program and earned degrees in Business Administration, Psychology, and Sociology. Six of the students graduated with distinction.


The Norco College Prison Education Program is geared to reduce recidivism rates by preparing students to join the workforce and contribute to the economic health of communities, while reducing unemployment and crime rates. Currently, 83 percent of individuals released from state prisons in the US return within nine years. A recent analysis by the nonpartisan think tank RAND showed that participation in prison education at any level reduces recidivism by 43 percent.


To find out more about the Prison Education Program, contact the program director at


About Pitzer College

Bachelor's Degree Pathway at Pizer CollegePitzer College is a nationally top-ranked undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility and community involvement. For more information, please visit