This annual gathering brings together people working to expand the field of higher education in prison. More than just an annual opportunity to convene with colleagues from the field, the National Conference on Higher Education in Prison is a place for higher education in prison community members to be heard, supported and inspired.
The annual convening encourages and fosters collaboration. It’s an incubator for new projects and initiatives. It’s a trusted venue for constructive dialogue. And it’s a valuable resource for practitioners and students seeking training, professional development and new connections.
Attendees leave the conference with new tools and connections, as well as a renewed sense of purpose and confidence.
The 2020 NCHEP was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, a virtual conference was held in March 2021. An in-person conference is also planned for November 2021 to be hosted in Denver, CO.November 2021 NCHEP Details
2021 Virtual NCHEP
March 1-5, 2021
The week hosted 51 presentations, panel discussions, workshops, plenaries, and a keynote event and focused on some of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the field. Video recordings from many of the 2021 Virtual NCHEP presentations can be found on the Alliance's Vimeo page. For a full overview of the conference experience, including feedback from participants, read the 2021 Virtual NCHEP Exit Report.2021 Virtual NCHEP Exit Report
The first national conference in 2010 was hosted by the Education Justice Project at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. About 75 people attended the 2.5-day gathering. Year after year, the conference grew in both attendance and the types and number of events and sessions it offered. By 2016, almost 300 people registered for the conference and by 2019 that number grew to more than 500 people representing more than 350 organizations, including higher education in prison programs, colleges/universities, community-based partners, media outlets and philanthropic foundations. The Alliance started hosting the conference in 2017, which was the 7th annual NCHEP. When available, archives from each event are available below.
“It's an amazing space. I am completely inspired by people's passion for the work and people's interest in engaging and learning. It's so clear that there's already so much expertise and work that has been done, but there's also new ways to work and new ways of thinking happening here. There are other conferences that might be just folks that only want to get their point across and have their way be seen. It seems like people here are really committed to learning with each other.”
“One thing that I think is just striking is that this conference is larger than ever, and it's got very full program of interesting people. That seems to me to be an incredibly healthy thing for the movement for higher education in prison.”
“There's something really powerful about being together at a professional conference with people who you knew when they were incarcerated and students on the inside. I have that experience more and more -- being on panels or watching people give talks and seeing them connect with other members of the community who they would never have had access to before.”