Second Chances Through Education
The Institute for Educational Empowerment (IEE) brings the mission and vision of Miami Dade College to an underserved population right in our very community who reside in correctional institutions in South Florida.
96% of all incarcerated persons will be released into our very own community. What are we doing to ensure that these individuals are prepared to take on the challenges of reentering society and become productive contributing citizens?
Research demonstrates that higher education significantly assists in the rehabilitation of incarcerated persons and creates well-equipped productive citizens thus improving the lives of the incarcerated, their families, and the communities they return to.
Dr. Minca Davis-Brantley is a Professor of Psychology. She has worked for the College for over 13 years teaching a variety of Psychology courses. She was trained in Medical/Health Psychology and practiced primarily in Level 1 trauma centers in South Florida before coming to the College. Dr. Davis-Brantley applies her practical experience to the classroom, which fosters a richer learning experience for her students. In 2014, Dr. Davis-Brantley was awarded with the Hank Meyer Endowed Teaching Chair at Miami Dade College.
Professor Samantha Carlo is an Associate Professor, Sr. in the School of Justice. She has over 20 years of experience working in various roles in the Criminal Justice system. Her expertise and research are in working with correctional populations, prison reform, and expansion of post-secondary educational opportunities for incarcerated individuals. Over the past 13 years, she has taught a variety of courses for the School of Justice always fostering a connection between the theoretical and the practical. In 2014, Professor Carlo was awarded with the Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Endowed Teaching Chair.
In 2013, Dr. Brantley and Professor Carlo brought the ESUBA program to Miami Dade College. ESUBA is a program implemented in various South Florida correctional institutions. The ESUBA program began as a voluntary effort to provide Miami Dade College students with real-world work experience, while also bringing an anti-abuse curriculum to incarcerated individuals. Since the inception of the program, ESUBA has served over 100 MDC students and 900 incarcerated students, helping participants learn to live their best lives through a curriculum that covers abuse, stereotyping, historical/cultural abuse, anger management, stress management, parenting, healthy relationships, and changing perspectives just to name a few.
The program has grown in six short years from a pilot in one prison to a highly coveted program operating every semester in multiple correctional institutions at the state and federal level. Because of the reputation of this program, Dr. Davis-Brantley and Professor Carlo have been recognized both locally and nationally for their dedication to this important work and have been approached to expand this program. ESUBA is the foundation of the work that Dr. Davis-Brantley and Professor Carlo do inside correctional institutions. However, it has evolved to include a greater initiative, which is to bring actual college credit courses into correctional institutions.
In 2018, the professors were awarded the Eduardo J. Padron’s President’s Innovation award, which permitted them to attend the Inside Out Prison Exchange Training. This training credentialed them to bring “Inside Out” courses into Everglades Correctional Institution. To date, Constitutional Law and Introduction to Psychology have been offered to 50 MDC outside students and 30 inside students at Everglades Correctional Institution. These are the first face-to-face post-secondary courses offered inside South Florida prisons since many higher education in prison programs began dismantling as a result of the federal ban on Pell Grants for incarcerated students. Through IEE, Miami Dade College is expanding their course offerings for credit bearing post-secondary courses in South Florida prisons.