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14 Maine prison inmates to get college diplomas

WARREN, Maine — Fourteen inmates will receive college diplomas on Monday during a ceremony at the Maine State Prison.

Eight of the inmates will receive associate degrees in liberal arts while six will receive bachelor of arts degrees. The degrees are being awarded by the University of Maine at Augusta, and were earned through the Maine State Prison college program.

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The program is fully funded by the Sunshine Lady Foundation, a nonprofit foundation founded by philanthropist Doris Buffett, sister of billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Funding allows instructors from University College at Rockland, which is part of the University of Maine System, to teach classes inside the prison, located in Warren.

The last prison graduation was held in 2011, when nine inmates got degrees.

Inmates who earn college degrees or just take part in the program are more likely to succeed when they are released from prison, said Deborah Meehan, director of University College of Rockland.

This year’s commencement speaker is the Rev. T. Richard Snyder, chairman of the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine and a former dean of New York Theological Seminary.

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