TIU and WIEA partner to increase educational opportunities by moving to a medium security prison
Trinity International University, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC), and the Wisconsin Inmate Education Association (WIEA) announce that Trinity’s BA in Biblical Studies program will relocate over the summer to Fox Lake Correctional Facility (FLCI) and begin classes in August.
Since the program’s founding in fall 2017, Trinity and WIEA have partnered to provide incarcerated men in Waupun Correctional Institution (WCI) serving sentences between seven years and life with the opportunity to earn a BA in Bible and Ministry and a minor in Psychology.
“Our goal has been to train students who are well-prepared to impact their communities—their incarcerated community, their communities of origin, and the communities to which they will return if released—with the gospel,” says Associate Dean Craig Long. “It has been my hope that the skills they’ve learned in the classroom will enable them to engage the problems faced by their communities with gospel and emotional sensitivity.”
Trinity and WCI have enjoyed a productive outcome of providing undergraduate education to more than 70 men, with administration and staff at WCI working diligently to create an environment where students can succeed. Thirty students have completed their BA in Biblical Studies and are serving as field mentors who counsel, support, and guide their fellow inmates throughout the Wisconsin prison system.
“Pivoting the TIU prison education site from a maximum security facility to Fox Lake Correctional Institution (medium security) positions our mission for greater sustainability and success over the long haul,” Tom Nebel, Co-President of the Board of the Wisconsin Inmate Education Association. “The move gives more inmates the freedom to access the education we have been offering, translating to even more ‘agents of change’ being deployed throughout Wisconsin Corrections—and beyond.”
The relocation to Fox Lake Correctional Facility in Wisconsin is precipitated by changes in the correctional environment over the course of the last several years.
“In many ways, we are adjusting to the demographic realities of the prison setting in order to maximize the potential impact of our graduates,” said Long. “Since many residents at medium security facilities still have many years to impact the system positively, we believe that the positive influence of our graduates will grow through the move to Fox Lake Correctional Institution.”
FLCI is approximately 10 minutes from WCI, which allows for continuity in faculty and curriculum. All 20 students currently in the program will be transferred to Fox Lake as part of the relocation process. Recruitment of a new cohort of students from across the state who reside in DOC facilities will begin in the fall, with classes for the new cohort expected to begin in January.
“I am excited that Fox Lake Correctional Institution has been chosen as the new host site for the Trinity International University baccalaureate program. Since our very beginning in 1962, one of Fox Lake’s stated objectives has been to provide those entrusted to our care with opportunities in the areas of vocational programming and adult basic education. The addition of this program not only reinforces but grows that vision established here 61 years ago,” said FLCI’s Warden Michael Meisner.