Our Mission

  • Offer high-quality liberal arts education to students in carceral institutions in Western North Carolina
  • Collaborate with community partners in developing resources to ensure those students’ educational success post-release
  • Design and deliver educational opportunities for children and families of justice-involved individuals
  • Advocate for education-related reform in criminal justice



A Note From the Director

Winter 2020

While the fall semester on campus has come to an end and we’ve just graduated a new class of brand-new UNC Asheville alums, things are just now getting started for our students at the Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution. Pandemic-related delays pushed the start date for our fall classes at AMCI back until just before Thanksgiving, but our AMCI students are now hard at work learning about the ins and outs of personal finance from Adjunct Professor of Accounting Katherine Morosani and about the close connections between mathematics and art from Professor and Chair of Mathematics Sam Kaplan.

Professors Morosani and Kaplan will wrap up their classes in late January, and after a short break we will begin instruction in the spring with sections of ECON 103: Introductory Economic Analysis and HUM 324:The Modern World, 17th-20th Century. We will have more to say about these courses in a future edition of this newsletter.

The program’s work outside of the classroom continues during the winter break, too, with outreach activities in the community. On Wednesday, November 11, I joined Buncombe County Reentry Coordinator Brent Bailey in talking about the program’s work to members of the Asheville Breakfast Rotary Club. And on December 8, past Prison Ed Program faculty and staff shared their experiences with Asheville School students taking part in a “Winterim” class on mass incarceration led by Asheville School Third Form Dean McNair Johnson. The spring will bring more activities for the public to engage with us, with plans underway for a virtual program “open house” and a reading group on mass incarceration, both of which will be open to the general public.

Prison Education Program Director Patrick Bahls

Dr. Patrick Bahls


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The UNC Asheville Prison Education Program is funded through the Laughing Gull Foundation