Since 2015, the Rochester Education Justice Initiative (REJI) at the University of Rochester 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 (Rochester's undergraduate division), REJI initially recruited and sponsored Rochester-affiliated 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 expanded its partnership with GCC to enhance an existing associate degree program at Attica Correctional Facility, a maximum-security state prison for adult males. In 2023, REJI launched its third associate degree program with GCC at Wyoming Correctional Facility, a medium-security state prison for adult males, and launched a Rochester bachelor's degree program at Attica. Rochester is the first R1 university in New York—and one of just a handful in the country—to offer a bachelor's degree in prison.

REJI college program students in a classroom

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 250 students at five state prisons: Groveland, Attica, Five Points, Auburn, and Albion.

As of spring 2024, REJI enrolls nearly 100 students across our four degree-granting programs at Groveland, Attica, and Wyoming. 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."