Calvin Prison Initiative is training faithful leaders in a prison context.
A partnership between Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary, the Calvin Prison Initiative (CPI) is a unique program that provides a Christian liberal arts education to inmates at the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia, MI. This five-year program results in a bachelor of arts degree from Calvin University in Faith and Community Leadership. CPI brings hope, dignity, and the opportunity for real accomplishment.
The mission of the Calvin Prison Initiative is to provide a Christian liberal arts education to inmates in the MDOC. Each year 20 students from prisons around Michigan are selected and enrolled in the five year program, through which they earn a Bachelor's Degree from Calvin University. They complete the core requirements for adult learners and major in Faith and Community Leadership.
The vision of the Calvin Prison Initiative is to provide education to adult learners in prison by equipping them with the knowledge and skills required to be community leaders. Our hope is that through this endeavor, not only will lives regain their hope, but prison culture will be transformed, and justice there will become not merely retributive, but restorative. Studies show that prison education programs significantly lower rates of inmate violence and reduce the likelihood of recidivism once an individual is released from prison.
By the numbers
Student inmates currently enrolled
Associate's degrees awarded in May 2019
overall GPA for CPI students in Spring 2020 semester
Students in the Calvin Prison Initiative take the same liberal arts core courses as students at the Knollcrest campus, such as Oral Rhetoric (CAS-101), Principles and Perspectives (SOC-151) and Fundamental Questions in Philosophy (PHIL-153). Students then take courses specifically oriented toward faith and community leadership, such as Christian Formation (ML-121), Practice of Discipleship (ML-122), and Foundations for Pastoral Care (ML-221).