THEI brings degree-bearing college programs to prisons in Tennessee. Our alumni's stories attest to the transformative nature of education in prison. These life-changing experiences continue thanks to the shared mission and determination of THEI students, their families, our prison partners and statewide coalition members, a dedicated staff and board of directors, and generous donors who support this work.
Our Mission


Tennessee Higher Education in Prison Initiative is a non-profit organization working to disrupt systems of harm and create opportunities for autonomy and success by providing college access to people inside Tennessee prisons, preparing students for skillful re-entry, and reducing barriers to continued education and achievement.


The recidivism rate for people who complete at least one semester of college with THEI is less than 9%, and zero THEI graduates have returned to prison.


The average overall GPA for THEI students is a full point higher than that of students on the traditional campuses of our partner colleges.


the cost-savings of THEI programming. The average cost to enroll a student in college through THEI is $2,722 per year, while the average cost to incarcerate someone in Tennessee is a staggering $23,478 per year.
Attending college has changed my life and outlook forever. I speak different, I hear different, I am different...I am never going back.
Jeffrey, thei graduate
Jeffrey, THEI Graduate