Florida’s incarcerated population has risen 1000% over the last 40 years, and Florida now has the nation’s third largest prison system, with nearly 100,000 people behind bars. 1.6 million people in Florida are system-impacted and Orlando has one of the highest incarceration rates in the nation.
Each year 33,000 people are released from Florida prisons, and another 80,000 are released from community supervision. Approximately a third of returning citizens will be rearrested within 3 years, but evidence shows that education increases the likelihood of post-release employment by 58%, reduces recidivism by 40%, and saves taxpayers money. Yet, until recently, Florida was one of only 12 states that did not offer any college courses to prisoners.
By 2020, an estimated 65% of all jobs will require postsecondary education, but most prisoners in Florida have limited access to higher education, despite the fact that statistical evidence overwhelmingly confirms that a college education reduces recidivism, increases employment opportunities, and strengthens communities.
As the largest university in the state, UCF is well-positioned to bring transformative education to those behind bars. Since its founding in 2017, FPEP has donated 10,000 books to Florida’s prison libraries and taught 20 classes to 255 students at 3 different prisons and is expanding to 3 more prisons in spring 2021.
The Florida Prison Education Project
Was designated a UCF Community Challenge Initiative
Was awarded a $50,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant
Was awarded $45,000 in NEA Big Read grants
Was awarded $120,000 from the Laughing Gull Foundation
Has collected 10,000+ books for Prison libraries
Has served 255 incarcerated students at 3 prisons
Check out UCF’s College of Arts and Humanities 2019 Spotlight, featuring FPEP.
Books Behind Bars
Donate your unwanted books (of any kind) to the Florida Prison Education Project. Contact Jason Fronczek.
UCF Florida Prison Education Project
Attn: Jason Fronczek
12400 Aquarius Agora Dr.
Orlando, FL 32816
Our program does the following with your donations: First, books are sorted and assessed. If they are suitable, desired, and cleared by the FDOC, they are donated to libraries in Florida prisons. If there are multiple copies of a single title, they are used as textbooks for FPEP course offerings. If the donated books cannot be donated to the FDOC or used as course materials, they are sold to raise money for the program. 100% of the proceeds go towards the program to benefit the incarcerated students. Thank you for your donations. Thus far, the Florida Prison Education Project has collected 10,000+ books to benefit our incarcerated students.