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Central State Prison Launches Building Community Program

Gregory C. Dozier
Director of Public Affairs: 
Joan Heath
Contact Name: 
Jeal Salter
Contact Email:
September 8, 2017

Central State Prison Launches Building Community Program

Facility partners with Mercer University Psychology Department

FORSYTH, Ga. – In August 2017, Central State Prison collaborated with Mercer University Psychology Department to launch a program called Building Community. The goal of the program is for Mercer University undergraduate students to gain a better understanding of how society can improve resources offered to offenders nearing release, from the perspective of the offenders themselves. Classes for the 16-week program, where 14 students and 11 offenders take courses simultaneously inside the facility, began on September 1.

“This program helps students understand an offender’s mindset and needs upon reentry, which will assist them with determining ways to best address criminal justice reform in their communities,” said Commissioner Gregory C. Dozier. “We have confidence that this course will have a lasting impact on both the Mercer University students and the offenders at Central State Prison.”

The Building Community class, which meets once a week, is where students explore some of the core issues of crime and justice; including what prisons are used for, why people commit crimes, a critical analysis of the criminal justice system, punishment vs. rehabilitation, the myths and realities of prison life, and concerns of victims as well as victimization. In this class students examine, debate, discuss, and analyze the consequences of imprisonment on the community, and look at newly emerging legal and community programs designed to aid criminal justice reform. Prior to completing the class, the group collaborates on a project where they develop new ideas to address offender reentry. Upon completion, the offenders earn certificates from Mercer.  For more:

The course is a subset of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange. The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program began at Temple University and in the Philadelphia Prison System in 1997, and is in the process of expanding nationwide. The mission of Inside-Out is to create a dynamic partnership between institutions of higher learning and correctional systems, in order to deepen the conversation about and transform approaches to issues of crime and justice. More than 300 university students and 400 incarcerated students have participated in the program. For more:

The GDC has one of the largest prison systems in the U.S. and is responsible for supervising nearly 52,000 state prisoners. It is the largest law enforcement agency in the state with approximately 10,500 employees.

For more information on the GDC call 478-992-5248 or visit

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