Alvin Community College gives inmates way to earn degree and a second chance

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021
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For more than 20 years, this educator has seen the positive in others when society may not and has been helping inmates earn their degrees.

ALVIN, Texas (KTRK) -- For one Alvin Community College manager, changing lives doesn't mean reaching students on campus, but behind prison bars.

Jeffrey Taylor is a proud Alvin Community College graduate who earned an associate degree in business.

"It feels great," Taylor said. "It's exciting. I look forward to what's next."

That achievement would not have been possible without Alvin Community College grant manager Sara Bouse.

"Quantitatively, I couldn't say," Taylor explained. "Practically, a big part."

Taylor didn't spend much time on campus. He earned a degree mainly behind bars. Toward the end of a 25-year prison sentence, he enrolled in Alvin Community College. It's a program Bouse managed for years.

"To me, when Jeff and his colleagues are successful, then I've done the work on earth that I'm supposed to have done," Bouse explained.

Bouse works with inmates looking to earn degrees. There are all kinds of options, including business, computer programing, culinary and carpentry.

"You think about the areas this country is struggling to have employees in, somebody just has to give that person a chance," Bouse said.

Inmates pay for the courses but can get scholarships. Once outside of prison, Bouse says the graduates find work, and have a lower chance of committing another crime.

"If I can just make one person's life a little better, then I'm a happy camper," Bouse said.

Over the past 20 years, she's done that for dozens, including Taylor. Three years removed from prison, he's urging colleges to do more and save others.

"There are so many things and people that will say you're wasting your time," Taylor recalled. "(They say) it's not going to help. (They say) it's not going to make a difference, but it does."

If you know someone who might be interested in this kind of program, have them contact the facility's education department. Bouse explained to send an "I-60" to the education department.

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