Formerly Incarcerated Students Club

Anthony Mancera

- drawing by Anthony Mancera

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The purpose of the FISC will be to expand, discuss, and argue about topics regarding incarceration, as well as be a place where system impacted people can meet other system impacted individuals. It will be a resource for those who are formerly incarcerated or directly/indirectly impacted by the system and who are struggling to find a community to be a part of; it will be a refuge in which individuals can raise and discuss any issues they find in the criminal justice system.


FISC has is affiliated with Project Rebound—a special admissions program that is aimed at assisting formerly incarcerated individuals seeking a college education. Project Rebound removes barriers to education and provides an opportunity for formerly incarcerated people to join their peers in the CSU system. Humboldt is the newest chapter of the Project Rebound consortium. FISC supports Project Rebound by doing community outreach and educating the public about the harms of mass incarceration. 


Our Charge

Cal Poly Humboldt’s Formerly Incarcerated Students Club (FISC) is a student-run organization whose purpose is to be an ongoing, supportive entity for formerly incarcerated and system impacted students and community members. Our goal is to aid the elimination of the social stigmas around incarceration, explore how mass incarceration negatively impacts our economy and society as a whole, support motivated individuals in their journey through re-entry, and to educate our peers and community about the criminal justice system as it is used as a tool of oppression and exploitation.

The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the entire world. With the exception of some who have wealth and power, none are exempt from the system. People from all corners of society are subject to punishment at any point in life. We may become a part of the criminal punishment system for reasons that are out of our own control, and when that happens we are marked with the labels “criminal”, “offender”, “delinquent”, etc..

According to a study done in 2014 by the National Institute of Justice, within three years of release, about two-thirds (67.8 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested, and within five years of release, about three-quarters (76.6 percent) were rearrested. This cycle of recidivism is imposed by systemic issues that are apparent long before any crime is even committed. After being socially marked by any of the labels listed above, people who have gone through the system have an extremely slim chance of productively re-entering society. FISC and all of our supporters disagree with this destiny; there is a better and brighter alternative.

Project Rebound, a program that started at San Francisco State University and is now an entity on 9 CSU campuses, aims to facilitate the transition of folks from jails and prisons to universities. The students at FISC are working to bring this program to Cal Poly Humboldt to cater to the needs and success of the students and community members who have been formerly incarcerated. With your help, we can drive systemic changes by reversing the school to prison pipeline.