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PrisonEd Course List

Open Book

Orientation Courses​

Freedom Behind Bars—This required course is structured around Freedom Behind Bars. This book tells the inspirational stories of 16 high-profile prisoners and focuses on the values that sustained and invigorated them.

Prison Autobiographies—Coursework explores autobiographies from enlightened figures that faced their own imprisonment, including Mandela, Dallas, Solzhenitsyn, ten Boom, Frankl, Zamperini, Stockdale, Dostoyevsky, Joan of Arc, Sadat, Boethius, and Gandhi.

Great Mentors—Discover mentors that made a difference. Read about significant relationships between mentors, trusted counselors, and role models. Essay-based curriculum. See full text list.  



Math 0950: Everyday Math for Life & Business—This course focuses on basic math principles. Coursework covers fractions, decimals, percentages, and basic business math. Included text: All the Math You’ll Ever Need.

Math 0990: Introduction to Algebra—Preparation course for Math 1010. Students must have passed Math 0950 or the placement test to take this course. Included text: Practical Algebra.

Math 1010: Intermediate Algebra—This is not a college credit course, but it is designed to mirror a standard Math 1010 course. Coursework prepares students to excel in introductory college math courses or to pass the CLEP test after release. Included text: Schaum’s Outline of Intermediate Algebra.

English and writing

English 0990: Writing—Gain confidence in organizing and writing your thoughts in a clear, effective, and persuasive way. Preparatory for college English 1010 and effective business communication. Packets included.

Vocabulary Building—This course builds students’ vocabulary with a focus on success in the world. For serious students. Included text: Word Power Made Easy.



Music Theory—Build a solid foundation in music theory, preparatory to playing an instrument or to advance music skills. Students will learn notes and accidentals, staff, clefs, pitches, note values, and time signatures.

Personal development


Personal Relations—This popular course teaches students how to build healthy and productive relationships, how to be likeable and positively influence others, and how to be an effective leader or salesperson. Included text: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

The Psychological Benefits of Optimism—Take charge of your attitude. This course explores how simple thought patterns change our reality. Packets included.

Personal Finance—The course covers key principles of financial success, budgeting, and an investment mindset. Included texts: Personal Finance Simplified and The Richest Man in Babylon.


Work and business


Job Success—How to get a job as an ex-felon and keep it. Students will do a self-assessment of interests and skills, develop personal marketing materials, plan a job search, and learn interview skills. Included text: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

Communications—Gain skills in listening, conflict resolution, family unity, and communicating in public. Included text: Messages: the Communication Skills Book.

Entrepreneurship—The course deals with the critical steps in beginning a small business. This is primarily a self-study course for serious students. Included text: So You Want to Start a Business.

Independent Study​

After students have successfully completed two PrisonEd courses, they are eligible to take a course tailored to personal interests and needs. There are no tutors for independent study courses. Instead, the courses consist of self-study coupled with assignments PrisonEd has created to support students in their independent interests.  


To start an independent study course, students should contact PrisonEd and describe their interests, background, and goals.

Great Mentors


Great Mentors is a course meant to help students learn from inspirational role models and apply those lessons in their own lives. Students choose a book to read and then write several essays, reflecting on the examples they are studying and what insights they have gained in their studies.  

Instructions to students

We invite you to participate in the Great Mentors course. See if books of interest are available in your facility library. If you do not find the books you are seeking, let us know—we will order them for you. When a book is completed, donate it to the facility library or share it with an associate.

Assignment for students

​The primary objective is for students to personally reflect and gain new insights in their own growth from their readings. They will choose a book and divide it into thirds. After reading each third of the book, they will write a five- to ten-page report.


Each report should demonstrate an understanding of the book’s content on a deeper level. In each report, students will also identify the following things:

1. Things that they need to let go of in their lives

2.Personal opportunities they want to explore

​A certificate of completion will be issued with appropriate completion of each book.


Great Mentors text list



The Shack 

by William P. Young 

The story of Mackenzie Allen Phillips, who struggles after his daughter is abducted and murdered, unveils a unique perspective of God and forgiveness.


Beside Still Waters: 52 Reflections of the Divine Within 

by Donald Wright 

This book contains a collection of life-changing messages from the Old and New Testaments.




Mornings on Horseback 

by David McCullough 

The biography shares how a young Teddy Roosevelt grew into a war hero and the president of the United States of America. 


Hero of the Empire: The Making of Winston Churchill 

by Candice Millard 

The story of young Winston Churchill’s time in Africa during the Boer War, which experience greatly shaped the rest of his life. 


Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation 

by James Carlin 

The story of how Nelson Mandela, president of South Africa, brought the country together by getting the national rugby team to play in the 1995 World Cup. 



Education of a Wandering Man

by Louis L’Amour

The moving, personal memoir of this best-selling Western author’s life, as he traveled the world and embraced once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.


When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi 

by David Maraniss 

The personal biography details the inspiration and motivation from the master football coach Vince Lombardi, who led the Green Bay Packers to five world championships in just nine seasons.

Awareness and psychology


The Power of Now 

by Eckhart Tolle 

A compelling message of living totally in the present by understanding enlightenment and becoming aware of our Being. 


The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

by Michael A. Singer 

A message about finding and releasing the thoughts, emotions, and energies that hinder your inner self so you can gain inner peace.


The Farther Reaches of Human Nature 

by Abraham Maslow 

A collection of essays from one of history’s main humanistic psychologists, which offers insight into human nature in all its facets.


Women’s studies


The Story of My Life 

by Helen Keller 

The inspirational autobiography of Helen Keller’s experiences growing up as a child born both deaf and blind.


Abigail Adams: A Life 

by Woody Holton 

A biography of Abigail Adams, the wife of President John Adams, and the inspirational role she played in creating America’s nation and women’s place within it. 


Still I Rise: The Persistence of Phenomenal Women

by Marlene Wagman-Geller 

A collection of stories about women heroes throughout history who have overcome massive obstacles to be the masters of their own fate. ​

Instructions to Students


We invite you to participate in the Great Mentors course.  See if books of interest are available in your library.  If you do not find books, let us know and we will order them. When a book is completed, donate it to the facility library or share it with an associate.

Assignment for Students

The primary objective is for the student to do personal introspection in gaining new insights and discoveries in his or her own growth.  The student is to react at a depth level to the book content; identify things to be released in life that do not serve; discuss new visions of personal possibilities to be explored and move toward. 

Divide the book into thirds and send in work on each third.  As feedback is received it is to be utilized in future writing.  Each third should be 5-10 pages in length.

A certificate of completion is issued with the adequate completion of each book.


     The Shack, by William P. Young; a novel with a unique perspective of God & forgiveness.

     Beside Still Waters – 52 Reflections of the Divine Within, by Don Wright; life-changing messages from the Old & New Testaments.



     Mornings on Horseback, by David  McCullough; the story of President Teddy Roosevelt.
     Winston Churchill – Hero of the Empire, by Candice Millard; the story of the man credited with saving the world from  Hitler.

     Playing the Enemy, by James Carlin; the Nelson Mandela sequel when he became President of South Africa.


     Education of a Wandering Man, by Louis L’Amour; this best-selling Western author tells his moving, personal life story.

     When Pride Still Mattered – A Life of Vince Lombardi; personal story of inspiration & motivation from the master football coach.


     The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle; a compelling message of living totally in the present.

     The Untethered Soul: the Journey Beyond Yourself, by Michael L. Singer; finding and releasing the inner self; gain inner peace.

     The Farther Reaches of Human Nature, by Abraham Maslow; a psychologist’s expansive view of the extraordinary capacity of all.



     The Story of My Life, by Helen Keller; deaf and blind from birth, her inspirational story of living an inspired life.

     Abigail Adams:  A Life, by Woody Holton; wife of Pres. John Adams; one of the nation’s most powerful women.

     Still I Rise: the Persistence of Phenomenal  Women, by Marlene Wagman-Geller; stories of intrepid women heroes.  

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