Since 2015, the Rochester Education Justice Initiative (REJI) has provided higher education opportunities for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people in the Rochester, New York, area.
Founded as the “Rochester Prison Education Project” with the support of the College (the University of Rochester’s undergraduate division), REJI initially recruited and sponsored Rochester instructors to teach courses through the Cornell Prison Education Program and Medaille College at Albion.
In 2019, REJI partnered with SUNY Genesee Community College (GCC) to establish a new associate degree program at Groveland Correctional Facility, a medium-security state prison for adult males. In 2021, REJI partnered again with GCC to enhance an existing associate degree program at Attica Correctional Facility, a maximum-security state prison for adult males.
Through REJI, University of Rochester faculty and graduate students, as well as faculty from other area colleges and universities, have taught more than 105 credit-bearing courses across a range of humanistic and STEM disciplines to more than 240 students at five state prisons: Groveland, Attica, Five Points, Auburn, and Albion.
As of summer 2023, REJI enrolls more than 90 students across our degree-granting programs at Groveland and Attica. REJI’s college programs operated continuously—and even expanded—during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2020, REJI inaugurated the Justice Scholars program, which provides financial support, technology, mentorship, and leadership opportunities to formerly incarcerated college and graduate students in the Rochester area.
In recognition of the program's work with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students, the Rochester City Council declared June 20, 2023 "Rochester Education Justice Initiative Day."