PEP CI Program Mission

The People Empowering People (PEP) Correctional Institute (CI) program draws from the unique strengths, life experiences and capacities of each participant to build a community of mutual support and challenge from which participants gain skills and confidence to aid their rehabilitation and ultimately keep them out of prison.

PEP CI Program Objectives

  • Create a sense of community with the group so that participants can support and encourage one another with the hope that they take that same sense of caring and community into the larger prison population and into the community they will return into.
  • Enhance self-worth by providing participants with insights and skills that lead to self-sufficiency and independence.
  • Provide a positive environment for participants so they can reflect on their lives and make better decisions in the future.
  • Allow participants to explore different options and develop more positive ways of thinking and behaving.
  • Help participants to begin or continue the process of finding their life purpose.

PEP CI Program Description

The program is conducted by a UConn Extension trained facilitator. The facilitator provides 17 two-hour sessions on the following topics:

Part I: Setting The Stage

Session 1 Introduction and Empowerment.

Part II: Who Am I?

Session 2 What is important to me? (Values)

Session 3 Learning to Feel Good About Myself (Community & Self Esteem)
Watch the movie “The Freedom Writers”

Session 4 Learning to Feel Good About Myself, continued (Community &
Self Esteem), Discuss the movie “The Freedom Writers”

Session 5 Understanding My Personality Style

Part III: Skills For Effective Living

Session 6 Communicating So People Can Understand Me

Session 7 Listening and Relating Well to Others

Session 8 Problem Solving and Managing Conflict

Session 9 Man’s Search for Meaning (Coping Strategies)

Session 10 Maintaining My Spiritual Connection

Part IV: My Relationships with Others

Session 11 Choosing and Enjoying Healthy Friendships

Session 12 Family Relations

Session 13 Parenting from Prison

Session 14 Goal-Setting and Planning

Part V: Skills for Returning Home

Session 15 Preparing For My Next Job: Resumes and Resources

Session 16 Preparing For and Keeping My Next Job

Part VI: Graduation

Session 17 Graduation

How UConn PEP CI Works


  • Is a volunteer
  • Completes mandatory Volunteer Application for Connecticut Correctional Volunteers
  • Works with the CI Volunteer Coordinator to develop a class participant list
  • Conducts 17 weekly 2 hour sessions

UConn PEP CI Participants

  • Participates in 17 weekly 2 hour sessions
  • Participates in building a positive community in the prison environment
  • Abides by the PEP CI Pledge (see below)
    • I live my values each day to the best of my abilities
    • I take responsibility for my actions
    • I treat myself with love and kindness
    • I live my life with purpose and integrity
    • And I treat all living beings with respect and dignity

Current PEP CI Locations

  • Cheshire Correctional Institute - Cheshire, CT
  • Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center - Uncasville, CT
  • Garner Correctional Institute - Newtown, CT
  • York Correctional Institute - Niantic, CT
  • Osborn Correctional Institute - Somers, CT
  • Carl Robinson Correctional Institute - Enfield, CT
  • Interested in volunteering? Please email Trish Spofford at

    PEP CI Graduation Speeches

    (Click here for transcriptions)

    Handwritten Graduation Letter
    handwriteen graduation letter
    Graduation Speech
    graduation speech