Jesuit Prison Education Network
JPEN is a response to the Four Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus (2019-2029): Showing the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises; Walking with the marginalized; Journeying with the youth in a hope filled future and Collaborating in the care for our common home.
The leadership teams of the six higher educational institutions of Central Southern Province (UCS) of the Society of Jesus, in its January 2022 meeting, considered and determined that it would coordinate its current and individual prison education efforts. The six institutions include:
- St. Louis University (MO) started its program, for men, at Bonne Terre, MO in 2008.
- Rockhurst University (MO) had its first college class, at the Chillicothe Correctional Facility for Women, in 2018.
- Regis University (CO) launched its efforts, in 2022, at four correctional facilities in Colorado
- Loyola University New Orleans (LA) began its efforts in 2022, at the Rayburn Correctional Facility in Washington Parish
- Spring Hill College (AL)
- St. John’s College (Belize, Central America) is undergoing a needs assessment at the only men’s correctional facility, in Belize City. Study is being underwritten by JPEN.
To that end, Fr. Tom Greene, SJ provincial, would mission Fr. Tom Curran, SJ to serve as the coordinator for this new work to be called the Jesuit Prison Education Network (JPEN).
While the network’s initial focus is with its six institutions of higher learning in the UCS province, it will simultaneously pursue partnerships and alignment, with the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) and its schools, as well as other companions to the delivery of college credit classes in the prisons for the incarcerated and correctional facility staff.
All works of the Society of Jesus are rooted in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. At the core of these Exercises is found that which is known as the principle and foundation: God’s desire for us and our free response to his love. In the movement towards the end for which God has created us, we come to understand that all of life is gift. The gentle invitation from the Divine invites and prompts us to respond freely and fully as companions, collaborators and co-laborers.