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First-of-its Kind in Michigan Graduates Inmates

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

inmateThe Calvin Prison Initiative, a partnership between Calvin University, Calvin Theological Seminary and the Michigan Department of Corrections, recently graduated 40 inmates who received bachelor's degrees while behind bars.

The first three graduating classes (Class of 2020, 2021, and 2022) from the Calvin Prison Initiative program received their bachelor's degrees during a commencement ceremony held inside the confines of Handlon Correctional Facility, in Ionia. The ceremony included those who received their associate degrees, the first-of-its-kind in the state of Michigan.

Todd Cioffi director of the CPI program, said he's seen how having the program at Handlon has not only shaped the students themselves but is also having ripple effects.

"We know that most of the students in this program are lifers, meaning they will remain inside prison walls for the rest of their lives," said Cioffi. "What this program is doing is recognizing these students' humanity and equipping them to be productive citizens within the prison system, helping them to reform it from the inside."

While most graduates will remain inside prison walls, 12 students in the program have been paroled. All 12 are gainfully employed and many are working for renewal in areas where they once caused harm.
Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
Author: Paul R. KopenkoskeyWebsite:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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