Santa Clara County to Offer College Courses in Jail

Santa Clara County residents didn’t have to vote for Bernie Sanders to get free higher education—they just have to get arrested.

Starting in September, the county will pave the way to higher education for men and women at Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas and the San Jose Main Jail in a new partnership with San Jose State University, which will offer credit-bearing general education college courses to inmates.

Last week, the county Board of Supervisors approved a two-year, $325,000 contract for classes that will count toward community college and university coursework when incarcerated individuals transition back into the community.

“The county is committed to providing individuals the re-entry tools needed to make a successful transition back into the community,” said Supervisor Cindy Chavez. “Our re-entry program has cut recidivism in half.”

Instructors will teach two classes per 12-week periods for up to 60 people per class. Classes will include both instruction and tutoring. All courses are worth three units.

Courses will be offered in Justice Studies, Kinesiology, Philosophy, Child and Adolescent Development, Communication, Counselor Education and English.


  1. Criminology 101. When I worked the jail in SCCO they began to start the same program. It was a great idea and prisoners became easier to handle. Then they dumped the program, the County needed a new Golf Course. Now that was 48 years ago and they “Just Now” decided to work toward meaningful rehab? All in all teaching them is better the current program of killing them.

    • Ummm… Yes they can. In CA voting rights are automatically restored after the sentence is served. The only people who can’t vote are those currently incarcerated or on parole.

  2. College courses? Seriously? Half the freshmen at UC have to take Bonehead English. What makes anyone in county government think that any significant percentage of the residents of our county jails are ready for college level work? Did anyone even check to determine how many prisoners have a HS diploma before approving this latest bit of “progressive” idiocy? Some grant writer convinced the PC Board of Supes to spend a lot of money on another useless endeavor. I bet that makes all five of them feel warm and fuzzy inside. Seems to me the Supes are the boneheads in this deal, wasting more money on PC BS, while core services crumble.

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