Partnership between Maryland State Corrections & University System of Maryland

Last Updated: 04/18/2024

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In July 2024, the Maryland State Corrections Department announced a new agreement with the University System of Maryland to establish a framework to bring higher education programs to every state-run prison. The initiative is using newly reinstated federal Pell grants to allow incarcerated individuals to pursue bachelor’s degrees.

This arrangement is the first corrections division in the U.S. to formalize an agreement with an entire state university system. The partnership, established via a memorandum of understanding, agrees that:

  • Incarcerated people will have the opportunity to pursue bachelor’s degrees from any of the 12 universities within the University System of Maryland.
  • Curriculum will be tailored to the needs and circumstances of incarcerated individuals and the establishment of pathways to continue their education or enter the workforce upon release.

The initiative builds on two bills passed in Maryland that will further reshape prison education:


Maryland has one of the nation’s highest recidivism rates (rate at which people released from prison re-offend and end up back in those facilities). The prison system has significant racial disparities: about 30% of the state population is Black but Black people make up about 71% of the prison population.


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