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A Tribute to Correctional Education Leader John Linton

Sep 21, 2021 | 20 Million Minds

This article was originally published by 20mm.org.

On May 15, 2019, John Linton and Lois Davis approached the Michelson 20MM Foundation about a research idea to address a needed professional development gap in advancing quality higher education in prison programming. Linton, who served as Director of the Office of Correctional Education in the U.S. Department of Education (ED), and Davis, a senior policy researcher at RAND Corporation, are nationally recognized experts in the field of correctional education.  

“Postsecondary education is vitally important in terms of preparing individuals in prison for so many careers. Any in-prison college program fundamentally needs to be a partnership between colleges and corrections,” Linton said, “There needs to be guidance for corrections officials on how to ensure the success of these programs.”  

“There is an underemphasis on partnership between higher education and corrections,” Davis added. “There is little guidance on what correctional officials should look for in higher education partners, even less guidance on creating the formal memorandum of understanding between colleges and prisons.” As a result of this conversation, Michelson 20MM awarded a Spark Grant to the RAND Corporation to create a guide supporting prison officials in establishing high-quality college educational programs in prison.

The recently released guide, “What Corrections Officials Need to Know to Partner with Colleges to Implement College Programs in Prisons,” was co-authored by Linton and Davis until his passing in September 2019. 

“John spearheaded the idea of this guide and believed strongly that such guidance would help make in-prison college programs a true partnership between corrections and colleges,” said Davis. “Unfortunately, John passed away before this guide could be completed. However, many of the ideas presented here are based on his valuable input.” 

Read more about John Linton’s legacy here.