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$500,000 grant to support prison education program

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Claflin University has received a $500,000 grant to support its Center for Social Justice and its Pathways From Prison education program.

The investment from Bank of America will help fund Claflin’s partnership with the S.C. Department of Corrections that provides incarcerated individuals a chance to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, psychology, and organizational management, along with minors and certificate credentials.

The donation will support scholarships and enhance technological resources such as laptops, keyboards, printers, routers and wi-fi hotspots, according to a news release from the Orangeburg university. 

“We are extremely grateful for Bank of America’s support for our Center for Social Justice and the Pathways From Prison Program. Research indicates a dramatic reduction in recidivism rates for incarcerated individuals who participate in prison education programs,” said Dwaun J. Warmack, Claflin president and a 2019 USA Eisenhower Fellow whose fellowship research explored global best practices for reducing mass incarceration through education and rehabilitation. “Bank of America’s reputation as a global leader in banking and finance is widely recognized. This partnership amplifies their commitment to equality, equity, and expanding economic opportunities for diverse populations.”

The funding will also be used to increase the number of qualified faculty and staff. 

“Education is a gateway to a better life,” said Kim Wilkerson, Bank of America South Carolina president. “We appreciate Claflin University’s leadership and recognize the success and progress made through the Pathways From Prison program.  Issues of racial equality and economic opportunity are deeply connected, and it’s important to remove the barriers to success and focus on areas where systemic, long-term gaps have existed.”

Pathways From Prison was established in 2020 through the Second Chance Pell Grant pilot programs. Claflin University was the only S.C. historically Black college and university chosen among 67 colleges and universities selected nationwide.

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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