By Edward Bevilacqua
Jan 29th, 2019

Novum-U, a school located in Las Vegas in the United Sates, opens and staffs zero-cost classrooms inside prisons in order to help struggling adults become successful, has opened a new classroom at 2,000+ inmate Southern Desert Correctional Center located 30 miles north of Las Vegas.

Approximately 500 students will attend our “Stage-1” (4-week, M-F, 3-hours per day) computer-based course prior to their release.

Students are introduced to Ignatian Spirituality as they learn essential skills (like typing and the Google Cloud) needed for stable and meaningful employment.

The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” ― Fyodor Dostoevsky

Although 5% (i.e. 1/20th) of world population is in the US; 25% (i.e. 1/4th) of world PRISON population is in the US. And, because 90%+ people in the US leave prison alive, the number of ex-offenders in the US is growing by over 500,000 per year –despite there being a decline in incarceration rates, What does this mean? Every year it is more difficult for ex-offenders to find stable and meaningful employment as more people vie for mostly low-skilled labor jobs because most offenders are poorly educated (i.e. testing at less than a 5th grade level in reading, writing and math). EX-offenders usually become RE-offenders when they are unable to obtain stable and meaningful employment.

The Ignatian solution: Education Education is the key to materially reducing recidivism: pragmatic education that helps students acquire the skills needed to obtain stable and meaningful employment. Education that occurs behind prison walls follows the Ignatian ideal of helping those who need it the most.

St Ignatius is the ideal role model for prisoners because of his own incarceration during his spiritual formation.

We open no-cost schools inside prisons because children need parents who set good role models.