Many people have some assumptions about the Prison Architect Foundation Education Program (PAFEP) without taking the time to find out what it is and how it operates. In this post, we’re exploring ten common myths about PAFEP and providing facts to help you better understand our program. Prison architect foundation education program is not for inmates or for the government. We are in partnership with the government to develop education programs that help prisoners and ex-prisoners succeed when they get out. Our program is available at no cost to inmates and is available on request to the public through our website, through school counselors, and at prisons across the country. 

There are no benefits to anyone by creating myths about PAFEP. We want people to understand how we work so they can make educated choices about what’s best for themselves and their families, their schools, correctional facilities and communities. The program does not ‘teach criminals. ‘ All of the participants have been convicted of crimes and have been contributing to their communities. ARI teaches programming skills that are in demand in today’s job market. Job trends such as coding, information security, and data acquisition are hot fields with strong job prospects.

Program participants who already hold a GED (or equivalent) will take the full array of classes listed. Program participants who do not hold or who are working toward a GED (or equivalent) will take the full array of classes listed plus an additional 3-credit class titled ‘GED Prep.’ 

Common Myths About Prison Architect Foundation Education Program :

1. PAFEP isn’t required by state or federal law to be offered in any correctional facility.

It is correct that PAFEP is not required by state or federal law to be offered in any correctional facility. However, the US Department of Education will review and approve the educational program of a correctional facility that offers it, and they will determine if the program meets their guidelines for inmate education. Based on the Department of Education recent Guidelines for Correctional Educational Programs, as stated in their latest Guidance Manual : “The Department recognizes that some inmates who are intelligent and motivated can benefit from educational programming during incarceration. The Department expects correctional facilities to offer appropriate educational programs that are suited to the population and available resources in that facility.”

2. PAFEP is only available at selected facilities.

This is incorrect. Not only is the PAFEP program being offered at over 100 federal, state, and private facilities, but it can be used as a ‘model’ program in any correctional system. Several countries have used it as a ‘model’ for their programs. Since 2011, because of its success in helping incarcerated people gain employment skills and education credentials that help them successfully prepare for life after prison, the program has been very popular with schools as well.

3. The program is only for inmates with ‘bad’ records.

This isn’t true either. Inmates with ‘bad’ records can still participate in PAFEP in the same way that inmates without ‘bad’ records can, by ordering the GED Prep class and taking other classes at their own pace according to their individual schedule. Those with ‘good’ records may choose one of the six accelerated programs for which we have limited space to enroll students: Accelerated GED Prep, Internal Medicine, Psychology, Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Operations, Prison Operations and Forensic Psychology.

4. The program operates as a business and is funded by donations.

Although PAFEP has been funded very generously through large donations from philanthropists and small yearly contributions from individual donors, it is not operated as a business, nor is it funded by donations. We are an educational non-profit organization that seeks to provide a quality educational program and fulfill our mission of offering inmates the opportunities they need to succeed on the outside.

5. The program will not help ‘criminals’ get jobs if they graduate from PAFEP.

This is simply not true. The program is designed to assist graduates obtain well-paying jobs so they can lead productive, positive lives. The program teaches a variety of well-regarded skills that help inmates learn valuable information technology and programming skills that are in high demand by employers.

6. PAFEP ‘teaches criminals’ how to be better at their criminal activity.

This is another myth that isn’t true, as the program teaches computing and technology skills which are valuable to employees in a wide variety of fields. The skills taught at PAFEP can be found in programs offered by community colleges and even for-profit educational companies. The program is not designed to teach inmates how to be more proficient at ‘criminal activity’ or other things that might be frowned upon when they graduate. The goal of the PAFEP is to help inmates get their lives back on track and become productive members of society.

7. This program will not help me get a job once I get out, it will only help me find better ways to break the law while I’m still in prison.

This isn’t true either. The program is designed to help inmates be employed and have a successful future after prison. It’s not designed to help them ‘beat the system’ or get away with violating the law while they are still incarcerated.

8. All program participants must have a criminal record, that’s why they need PAFEP.

This is another very false statement. Many people who qualify for PAFEP are no longer in prison because they successfully completed Phase III of their sentence and earned their release from incarceration as well as paid restitution to victims in crimes they committed while in custody.c

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