Our Purpose

Our Purpose

The focus of the CSU Project Rebound Consortium is to support the higher education and successful reintegration of the formerly incarcerated through the mentorship and living example of other formerly incarcerated students, graduates, faculty, and staff. Project Rebound constructs a life-affirming alternative to the revolving door policies of mass incarceration by making higher education more accessible and supportive of formerly incarcerated students so that they can acquire the knowledge and skills of a university education, enhance their capacity for civic engagement and community leadership, secure meaningful and gratifying employment, empower themselves and their families, and ultimately make stronger, safer communities.

Our Vision

We envision a just and equitable world in which all people, including those with an incarceration experience, have access to high-quality higher education and comprehensive student support services that foster achievement, transformation, empowerment, social responsibility, and flourishing.

Our Values

  • The Intrinsic Value of Persons. We believe that every person has inherent value and holds the power of possibility and transformation within them.
  • Equitable Access to Education. We believe that access to meaningful, high-quality, face-to-face higher education is fundamental to breaking intergenerational cycles of poverty, abuse, addiction, unemployment, and confinement.
  • Formerly Incarcerated Leadership. We believe that the integration, education, and leadership of formerly incarcerated people are essential to the work of creating solutions to the social crisis of mass incarceration.
  • Education as Public Safety. We believe that meaningful, high-quality higher education ultimately makes stronger, safer communities; we believe that public resources are better invested in education and other opportunities for transformation than prisons and punishment.
  • Civic Engagement. We believe that community engagement is at once a right, a responsibility, and a means of empowerment; we aim to inspire all Rebound Scholars to be informed and engaged civic agents.

The Need

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and California has the largest prison and jail systems in the country. Mass incarceration drains state budgets, depleting public resources that might otherwise be allocated to strengthen social safety nets and improve educational access and quality; it is also a significant generator of social inequality, contributing to the creation of a class of people permanently locked out of the opportunities of mainstream society, even well after release. Formerly incarcerated people face momentous obstacles to successful reentry, including barriers related to access to affordable housing, transportation, and gainful employment. They also face tremendous roadblocks in accessing the transformative power of higher education, which for many is the pathway to a more purposeful and prosperous life. While possessing knowledge, experience, and skill that stand to enrich the university community, formerly incarcerated students (and aspiring students) have uniquely urgent needs in navigating academic institutions, accessing the academic and student supports, and acquiring the soft skills and social capital necessary for academic and postgraduate success.