Gallery: Prison education unlocks new possibilities


Chris Ferman

Professor Sharon Varallo, left, teaches the class as Brandon Johnson, center, and Tyrone Stone, right, listen attentively on Oct. 1, 2021.

Photos by Chris Ferman

The Augustana Prison Education Program (APEP), pioneered by Dr. Sharon Varallo, began this fall at East Moline Correctional Center (EMCC). APEP is a four-year degree program where a select group of men at EMCC will have the opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s degree in communication studies through Augustana. The program is entirely funded by grants, and it was born from Dr. Varallo’s passion for prison reform. The following photos are from Oct. 1 when the Observer was granted special permission to come in while a class at EMCC was in session.