News Release

LC State sees first of what it expects to be many prison ed graduates

OROFINO, Idaho – Lewis-Clark State College’s reputation for meeting students where they are and helping them get to where they want to go is taking on a whole new meaning at Idaho Correctional Institution - Orofino (ICIO). Thanks to an ambitious effort to expand education options and opportunities – including in-person instruction – LC State had its very first ICIO graduate this past fall.

Bryan Middleton enrolled at LC State through the Second Chance Pell Program in the spring of 2023. Middleton earned President’s List honors, which requires a 3.75 grade point average or higher, en route to earning his associate degree in liberal arts. He recently paroled and plans to continue his studies online at LC State, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies.

Lewis-Clark State College served 62 individuals in Orofino with both online and in-person classes last fall, and is currently serving 53 students this spring. The college is also seeking to expand its prison education program to both Pocatello and Boise and students in those facilities are already signing up for LC State’s one-credit college prep course.

“Thanks to the tireless efforts of the small but mighty team at Lewis-Clark State College, LC State is leading the way when it comes to prison education in Idaho,” said LC State President Cynthia Pemberton. “This is a win not just for Mr. Middleton and others like him, but for our college, our communities, and for Idaho and its workforce needs.”

Middleton has become a vocal advocate for LC State’s prison education program and is currently exploring fundraising and grant opportunities to help those currently incarcerated.

“Education is one of the most well-researched and most important practices we facilitate that reduces recidivism” said Josh Tewalt, director of the Idaho Department of Correction. “We are grateful to President Pemberton and LC State’s faculty and staff for helping us in our mission to make Idaho safer.”

According to research by the RAND nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization, providing education in prison has proven to reduce recidivism rates and is associated with higher employment rates. A 2018 RAND study found that incarcerated individuals who participated in correctional education were 48 percent less likely to return to prison within three years than incarcerated individuals who did not participate in any correctional education program. RAND estimates that for every dollar invested in correctional education programs, $4 to $5 are saved on three-year re-incarceration costs.