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Huntsville Center Scholarship Initiative

Your donation delivers hope and lights a path to success.

Roughly 95% of ex-offenders from Lee College’s prison program re-enter the free world and fully integrate back into society as productive, functioning, law-abiding, and tax-paying citizens – never to see the inside of a jail cell again. Education breaks the recidivism cycle. We have more qualified students than ever! Please help us positively impact lives and our society for the better. Make a tuition donation now to Lee College’s prison program, in time for the Summer 1 session. Your donation will go directly to support tuition for a qualified student. Our Huntsville students must identify their own funding and are eligible for very limited financial support, if any. They must also meet rigid requirements to be accepted into any Lee College program. So please, donate now. The more funds we raise, the more lives we can impact together.

Huntsville Program graduates, educators, and others applaud during a commencement ceremony.

“I am incarcerated today for committing crimes under the influence of drugs, and for bad choices. I’ve always wanted to live the American Dream, but my lack of education — along with my propensity to use drugs — always prevailed over my good intentions. I deeply desire a new life. I realize there are two ways to get it. One is education, and the other is spiritual change. I have completed a GED and hope to graduate from college soon. I have many regrets in life and the decisions I have made which resulted in my incarceration. I can’t change the past, but I do have a second chance with Lee College for a better life in the future!”

For more than 50 years, the Lee College Huntsville Center has been preparing incarcerated offenders with the work skills and soft skills necessary to find and sustain gainful employment upon release, while breaking the cycle of crime and poverty in our local communities. Lee College is committed to the belief that education knows no boundaries.

Lee College provides quality educational programs to more than 1,000 qualified offenders incarcerated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in the greater Huntsville, Texas area, including the A.A.S. degree in Business Administration and Management. Academic and technical based programs provide TDCJ offenders with unique learning opportunities to acquire new job skills and industry certifications leading to more productive lives for themselves and their families.

Do the Right Thing

“Do the Right Thing” is a constant reminder when working and teaching in a correctional facility. LCHC Dean Donna Zuniga (left), and Paul Allen, Chair of Academic Studies (right), welcome former student Darius Clark Monroe as a featured speaker of a recent Leelapalooza event at the Ferguson Unit. Monroe earned a graduate degree in film making from New York University and co-produced an award-winning documentary with Spike Lee.

Most student offenders have faced numerous obstacles in life and are seeking some form of rehabilitation while incarcerated in order to make a positive change in their lives. Not surprisingly, statistics also reveal that a greater number of young men of color are incarcerated today compared with those who are enrolled in higher education. Will you join others who desire to give HOPE to those less fortunate?

In many ways, hope is also considered a measure of personal redemption. When an offender is incarcerated, it can cause a devastating effect on his life, his future, and above all, his family. He ultimately has to decide whether to be bitter about his incarceration or to become better for it. Overall, offenders enrolled in educational programs can expect the following benefits:

  • Lower unemployment rates
  • Higher employment retention rates
  • Greater employment marketability
  • Higher wages & better benefits

The Huntsville Center prides itself on the quality of its academic and technical programs, and works diligently to support student success in the classroom and beyond. In fact, the Lee College Huntsville Center strives to continuously improve the quality of its programs offered to TDCJ offenders. Student success is always a top priority, as evidenced by historically high certificate and degree completion rates.

Crime affects almost every aspect of society today. The costs associated with crime is staggering. Texas leads the nation in offender population by incarcerating more than 140,000 offenders. The annual cost of confinement per offender is about $21,000. By comparison, the cost to rehabilitate is far less.

Offenders cook as part of a culinary arts program.

Culinary students enrolled in beginning and advanced programs at the Eastham Unit learn to prepare, season, and cook a variety of foods in a state-of-the-art professional cooking bay. Students also receive comprehensive training developed by the National Restaurant Association of Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and earn the ServSafe industry certification. Students can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in culinary arts.

In the largest-ever meta-analysis of U.S. correctional educational programs, RAND researchers found compelling evidence that prison-based correctional educational programs not only work but are also very cost-effective. The average annual cost of correctional education programs offered by the Huntsville Center is approximately $744 for academic programs and $1,400 for technical programs, per offender. Based on lower recidivism rates for program completers, RAND estimated a $5 savings for every $1 spent to educate and re-train offenders. A staggering 400% return on investment.

The Huntsville Center remains dedicated to its core mission and works diligently to meet the needs of offender students and contribute to the success of Lee College.

Your support will enable us to continue this very special tradition and legacy in support of correctional education. Your contributions to the Hope Scholarship initiative are greatly appreciated. Share your special gift of hope.