The Educational Justice Institute (TEJI) is an innovative and groundbreaking initiative that provides a transformative learning experience for incarcerated individuals and university students. Founded in 2017, TEJI is growing exponentially by developing co-learning opportunities for students both behind and outside of prison walls.
TEJI aims to enhance the prospects for incarcerated individuals by empowering them to reach their potential and re-define their identity through higher education and the use of technology to prepare for reentry. The social-emotional benefits of education, such as an increased sense of self-worth and self-motivation, coupled with job readiness preparation, are immeasurable.
Through working and studying with justice-involved individuals under the auspices of TEJI, MIT students experience the issues and challenges facing men and women who are incarcerated in prisons and jails. They gain firsthand knowledge regarding the complexities surrounding America’s incarcerated population, have the potential to develop a sustained commitment to community involvement, and develop increased empathy and compassion, as they directly experience the humanization of those who have been de-humanized by our society. As future leaders in the United States and across the world, these experiences provide useful and necessary development opportunities that will enhance their future work.
TEJI has accomplished much in its short existence, including:
- Partnering with a wide range of institutions, both higher education and technology, to develop programming that will reinvent prison education
- Supporting classes in prison that include both MIT students and incarcerated individuals
- Recruiting and supporting tutors and teaching assistants for prisons and jails
- Sponsoring debates with Harvard and MIT students debating incarcerated individuals
- Scheduling a speaker series regarding topics of interest to prison education
- Fostering the formation of a student corrections education and social justice reform group
As a recognized leader in education and research, MIT has the ability and the responsibility to effect positive change through education in all areas of society, including Massachusetts prisons and jails. Our goal is to improve the quality of life and future prospects through education, while simultaneously raising the social consciousness of MIT students.
The MIT mission statement reads: "We are also driven to bring knowledge to bear on the world’s great challenges." As a recognized world leader in education and research, MIT has the ability and the responsibility to effect responsible corrections reform through education and the integration of educational technology into prisons and jails, while simultaneously raising the social consciousness of MIT students. Toward this end, TEJI aims to foster partnerships with other institutions of higher learning, most recently through the Vera Institute funded MPEC, as well as with other organizations that are working to enhance corrections education through technological innovation, such as EDOVO. We believe that our work with these partners offers the potential to reinvent correctional education in America.
MIT has a long history of sending faculty into the Massachusetts prison system to teach, primarily through programs at other higher education institutions, such as the Boston University Prison Education Program. Through the creation of TEJI@MIT, MIT has brought much of its work with the incarcerated under one roof.