Turney Center Industrial Complex
Location: Only, Tennessee (56 miles outside of Nashville, TN)
Institution of Higher Education: Nashville State Community College
In May 2014, the Tennessee Higher Education Initiative began offering degree-bearing college courses through Nashville State Community College at the Turney Center Industrial Complex, a medium security prison for men in Middle Tennessee. The program at the Turney Center was modeled after the pilot program established at Charles Bass Correctional Complex in 2012. In May 2015, we opened up the program to inmates housed at the nearby minimum security facility, the Turney Center annex. At present, there are five cohorts, 85 students, and 10 courses being offered including two online. The men, who also work full-time, take 2-5 courses per semester in the evenings leading towards an Associate's degree from Nashville State in one of three majors: Business Administration, Psychology and Political Science. Credits, certificates and degrees are recognized and transferable to any Tennessee Board of Regents college or university, as well as certain private and public colleges and universities in the Southeastern region. Professors are full-time or adjunct at NSCC.
Technology is an important piece of the program as it was desired that incarcerated students experience technological equity, to the extent possible, with NSCC campus students. Students are assigned desk-top computers with Microsoft office and other non-internet based software. Instructors and students can use the smart board, smart projector and laser printer. We began a pilot initiative in summer 2016 by offering online Biology I, the first internet course offered behind bars in Tennessee. Since that time we have continued to offer additional online courses each semester. THEI students are gaining much needed computer skills which will help them be successful in a 21st century digital world.