1st of its kind: Accredited college offered at San Quentin state prison

For years, San Quentin state prison has offered courses in literature, American government and other high education classes.

But now, the college there has gained accreditation, which means incarcerated people will officially be students of Mount Tamalpais Community College.

It's part of the bigger efforts to rehabilitate the prison population. 

Jody Lewen, president of the college, said the program is the first of its kind.

"For 20 years, we were an extension site of a small college in Oakland," she said. "Then a couple of years ago, we decided we wanted to become independent. So we are now an independently accredited, liberal arts college."

Lewen said on Tuesday that as far as she knows, Mount Tamalpais College is the "first and only fully accredited, independent college with a main campus inside a state prison."

With the new accreditation, students can more easily transfer to other colleges after their incarceration ends.