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Corrections Education at Chemeketa

Chemeketa helps inmates earn their GED and college certificates and degrees to reduce their recidivism and support their productive participation in the workforce.

College Inside

We believe –

  • Second chances should be given with all the tools that are necessary for success
  • Rehabilitation is a choice, but once made, cannot be accomplished alone
  • Marketable job skills are at the top of the list of necessary tools for reintegration in society
  • A learning atmosphere that encourages growth, inspires confidence and creates a sense of community contributes to the success of our students

We currently serve about 150 students in multiple programs:

  • Oregon State Penitentiary
    • Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology
    • Entry Level Technician Certificate in Automotive Technology
    • Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer Degree
  • Santiam Correctional Institution
    • Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer Degree
    • Computer-Assisted Drafting (CAD) Certificate of Completion

We have 293 graduates since the program was founded in 2007. The recidivism rate among our graduates is 6%. In 2019, 58 students graduated and their cumulative GPA was 3.50.

Graduation Videos: The College Inside program holds annual graduation ceremonies at each location. Below are links to some recent graduation videos.
SCI - Class of 2019
OSP - Class of 2019
SCI - Class of 2018
OSP - Class of 2018
SCI - Class of 2017
OSP - Class of 2017

College Behind Bars: The Necessity of Running a College Inside Prisons
EvoLLLution, a higher education publication, published an article by College Inside's Program Coordinator Michael Budke. The article highlights the the necessity and challenges of running a college inside prisons.

Lessons from Second Chance Pell
The Vera Institute of Justice, the designated support organization for the Second Chance Pell Grant, asked College Inside's Program Coordinator Michael Budke to co-author a toolkit designed to help other schools succeed in the Second Chance Pell Grant experiment.



    Chemeketa awards an Associate of Applied Science degree in automotive technology to successful completers of Oregon State Penitentiary Work-Based Education (WBE) automotive program.

    Courses are comprehensive and include training in an array of automotive systems, including –

    • Engines
    • Transmissions
    • Electrical
    • Drivability

    Training couples academic courses with on the job applications in our shop.


    Each of our three prisons enrolls between 200-350 students a year in one of these programs –

    • English as a Second Language (ESL)
    • Adult Basic Education (ABE)
    • General Equivalency Diploma (GED)

    Four Instructors between the three sites cover ESL and ABE classes.

    GED is taught by inmate tutors, who are supervised by Education Coordinators; each site has between 10-15 tutors. Instruction is provided one-on-one as well as in groups. Class size average 15 students per class. Education coordinators and tutors work together to develop curriculum that bests meets the needs of the students.


    Through the initial support of a single donor and subsequent contributions from staff, faculty, and private organizations, we have been able to keep College Inside viable.

    Your financial support would mean so much for our program, our students and our communities.