welcome to university beyond bars

"If we do this together, there’s no reason we can’t have 20 people graduating next year, and 40 the year after that. Before you know it, this entire population can be enlightened and liberated through education, and we can redefine what it means to be a typical inmate.Devon, UBB graduate, Class of 2016

University Beyond Bars (UBB) empowers prisoners to fulfill their potential through communities of higher learning that transcend prison walls. We seek to break cycles of incarceration, strengthen families and communities, confront racism and classism, and promote personal achievement and social reintegration by providing transformational education opportunities. Our mission is rooted in the belief that everyone has a right to education, regardless of identity, socioeconomic status, or circumstance.

Founded in 2005 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, UBB was the first program to offer college instruction at Washington State Reformatory after the legislature prohibited public funding of prison college programs in 1995. Today UBB offers higher education and enrichment programming to over 340 prisoners at Washington State Reformatory and the Minimum Security Unit, both at Monroe Correctional Complex.