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76 Fed. Probation 30 (2012)
Prisons, Community Partnerships, and Academia: Sustainable Programs and Community Needs

handle is hein.journals/fedpro76 and id is 32 raw text is: Prisons, Community Partnerships,
and Academia: Sustainable Programs
and Community Needs
Peter Boghossian
Philosophy Department, Portland State University
Megan Glavin
College of Urban and Public Affairs: Hatfield School of Government
(Criminology & Criminal Justice Division), Portland State University
Tom O'Connor
Transforming Corrections
Jeff Boyer
Columbia River Correctional Institution
Dave Conway
Oregon Corrections Enterprises

IN RECENT YEARS, the effect of the
economic downturn on state budgets has
exacerbated the urgent needs of our most
vulnerable citizens. Services across an array
of state institutions have been cut, often
significantly, with potential consequences
threatening to have cascading effects and
further overwhelm an insolvent system. There
is an immediate need for innovative, low-cost
programs to meet community needs.
One of the most underserved arenas,
and one of the hardest hit by diminishing
resources, are state prisons, where inmate
programming is often the first service to face
cuts (Brazzell, Crayton, Mukamal, Solomon,
& Lindahl, 2009; Wilhelm & Turner, 2002;
Williams, 2009). Among the many targets
of cuts in pre-release services for inmates
are vocational and educational programs, as
well as substance abuse treatment services
(Brazzell-et al., 2009; Stevens & Ward, 1997;
Wilhelm & Turner, 2002).
Fortunately, there are cost-effective and
efficient solutions to help meet the needs of com-
munity members, address social and educational
inequalities, and assist prisons in discharging
public safety mandates. Community-academic

partnerships are increasingly seen as a way to
bring vital resources to the community and
to underfunded state institutions. Regrettably,
however, there is a dearth of literature on how
universities and prison systems can create sus-
tainable partnerships.
There are many reasons for this. For
academicians, chief among their concerns
are: unfamiliar rules, bureaucratic hurdles,
hesitancy in dealing with members of a pro-
tected class:' liability issues associated with
the perceived dangers of being in a prison
environment, and even fears of cultural and
socioeconomic clashes between academicians
and prison staff (Brazzell et al., 2009; Bringle
& Hatcher, 2002; Nyden & Wiewel, 1992;
Schultz, 1992; Suarez-Balcazar, Harper, &
Lewis, 2005; Wolff & Gerardi, 2007). Prison
management teams have somewhat different
concerns; they fear the introduction of pro-
grams and curricula that are not sanctioned by
the state bureaucracy, as well as the establish-
ment of non-evidence-based programs that do
not contribute to inmates' desistance efforts (J.
Boyer, personal communication, June, 2011).
The purpose of this paper is to thematically
address these issues by:

1. Discussing a successful, sustainable com-
munity partnership between Portland
State University (PSU) and an Oregon
Department of Corrections (ODOC)
state prison, Columbia River Correctional
Institution (CRCI);
2. Demonstrating the relevance of salient
elements in the literature to the specific
partnership detailed here; and
3. Explaining the benefits of academic-prison
partnerships for the correctional system,
academic institutions, inmates, and the
community at large.
Community Partnership
In 2009, PSU started a partnership with the
local state prison, CRCI. CRCI is a pre-release
facility with approximately 550 beds, located
in northeast Portland, Oregon. The partner-
ship grew out of an environment of mutual
concern and genuine interest-both PSU and
CRCI recognized the gathering storm of an
economic crisis, the profound and inade-
quately-addressed needs of prisoners releasing
to the community, and attendant issues of
public safety. With full support of CRCI's

Volume 76 Number 1


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