Education Services

The mission of Educational Services in North Carolina prisons is to provide services to those offenders who participate in education activities so that they may become responsible and productive persons who can effectively manage their incarceration and make contributions to their community upon release.

The philosophy of Educational Services is that correctional education is an integral part of the total correctional process. Education is capable of changing offender behaviors so they become law-abiding, productive members of the community. The goal of Educational Services is to provide a system of education offerings that range from basic reading, writing, and computation skills to advanced vocational skills, which also includes training in the areas of social development and life skills. The outcome goal is to provide offenders with the resources for making a worthwhile life.

The array of education services provided is intended to meet the wide variety of needs of offenders, including those skills required to be successful as jobholders and as contributing members of their communities. It is also the guiding philosophy of the Division of Prisons Educational Services Section that these services must be systematically planned and evaluated, and that changes must be made in the way services are provided depending on changes in education technology, demands of the workplace, and characteristics of the offender population.



Education Services provides a wide range of education programming to offenders in all of state prisons. Services include basic education, high school equivalency, life skills, career and vocational and degree programs. The department has established partnerships with more than two-thirds of the state’s community colleges, as well as with postsecondary institutions such as the University of North Carolina system and private colleges. Through these partnerships, offenders can obtain basic and postsecondary educational opportunities which will help them find jobs upon release. Additionally, offenders can participate in programming designed to teach them to apply the principles of cognitive behavioral intervention, social skills, mindset and financial management. 

The main goals of correctional education are: 1) to equip offenders with skills that help them become responsible and productive individuals who can manage their incarceration, and 2) to provide skills and certifications for employment and other opportunities that will enable them to support themselves and their families and also benefit their communities.

Educational programs are offered at all of North Carolina’s prisons. There are four youth schools that serve offenders who are 18-22 years old. These schools are managed by a principal within the prison and academic services are taught by teachers who are certified by the Department of Public Instruction. 

Study Release

Study Release

Study release allows offenders to participate in academic or vocational training programs away from the correctional facility and not supervised by a correctional employee or an agent of the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice.

Criteria for Participation
Prisons policy requires:
  * The offender must be in the final stage of minimum custody and must have participated in other community-based activities outside the correctional facility.
  * The offender must have the potential for release through parole, work release or sentence expiration following the completion of the designated study release program.

Program Operation
Eligible offender requests must be reviewed to determine if:
  * The course of study which the offender wishes to pursue is not available on site at an appropriate correctional facility.
  * The course of study for the participant will significantly enhance the offender's opportunity of being a productive citizen upon release.
  * There is reasonable cause to believe that the offender has the capability of successfully completing the designed study release program.
  * There is reasonable cause to believe that the offender will honor all the conditions for the study release participation and not abuse the privilege.
  * Offenders request study release through their prison case manager. Prison managers must review and approve the request.

« this page last modified 08/17/12 »

Think Smart

Think Smart

The Think Smart Program is operated by Prisons as a crime prevention program. Carefully selected and trained minimum custody offenders speak in schools, to civic groups and to other public gatherings relating the personal experiences that led to their confinement.

Criteria for Participation: Minimum custody offenders volunteer to participate in the program and are selected by Prisons staff.

Adult offenders may not be brought to a juvenile detention center to speak or provide a Think Smart presentation. Court-ordered probationer tours for juvenile offenders (accused or adjudicated in the juvenile justice system) may not take place at any prison in our state.

Program Operation; North Carolinians wanting to schedule a Think Smart presentation may contact the local minimum security prison's Think Smart coordinator or the Prisons Office of Citizen Participation. Local law enforcement crime prevention officers or Prisons staff accompany offenders to the presentation.

The phone number for the Prisons Office of Citizen Participation is 919-838-3613.



3070 Hammond Business Place
Raleigh, NC 27603

Dr. Julie Jailall, Director

Brooke Wheeler, Assistant Director/Post-Secondary Liaison

Emma Brooks, Administrator, Library Services

Kelli Terrell, Federal Programs Coordinator

Jamel Jones, Federal Programs Compliance Specialist

Sophia Feaster-Lawrence,
Education Program Consultant II

Sharon VanHoy, Federal Programs Compliance Specialist

Martina Akins, Administrative Specialist