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Project Rebound


"Each One Teach One"


"Project Rebound" at California State University, Fresno, stands strong alone and shines even greater together. This initiative is tailored to support formerly incarcerated individuals in their higher education journey. The program extends a comprehensive suite of services and resources, designed to ease the transition from the criminal justice system into the university setting. Project Rebound's key offerings include academic and financial counseling, assistance with admissions and enrollment, and mentorship opportunities. Beyond academia, the program also aids in securing housing, employment, and other vital resources, addressing the myriad challenges members may encounter. The primary aim of Project Rebound is to empower these individuals to attain academic success, make positive contributions to their communities, and lay the groundwork for a prosperous future.

We are available 8 AM - 6PM M-F, however to be sure, please call 559-278-2313 or email us at to make an appointment.

 Project Rebound was originally established in the late 1960s at San Francisco State University by the late Dr. John Irwin. He realized personally how education could change the trajectories of those involved in the Criminal Justice System. Education would help them establish lasting pro-social pathways back into their communities as productive members of society and essential components to reducing recidivism and victimization. This program at San Francisco State has expanded to 14 other CSU campuses.

We are a growing cohort at California State University Fresno. If you have been involved in the Criminal Justice System and want to use education as a tool to change your pathway in life, please contact us. We are a student support services program that assists with those already taking courses at Fresno State as well as those who wish to attend. We can assist you in many ways as you navigate the higher education system.

Get to know what Project Rebound is all about! Mission Statement, and our location on campus come see us in the Social Science Building, Rooms 102A-D.! Campus Map


Latest News*


Valley State Prison Debate 2023

VSP Debate 2023

Valley State Prison (VSP) hosted its first-ever formal debate between incarcerated college students and visiting Fresno State University students.

The Nov. 13 debate provided an opportunity for the incarcerated to engage and learn from outside students. Debate topics ranged from artificial intelligence to the Second Amendment.

Debate is example of California Model
The event also was an example of a key piece of the California Model – the Normalization Pillar. Creating an environment inside prison more closely resembling life in the community will aid people in their transition upon release. The California Model draws on international best practices to change culture within CDCR and California Correctional Health Care Services.

“Educational opportunities like this are imperative to implementing the California Model. They help bridge the gap between the population and community,” said Shannon Swain, CDCR Superintendent of Education. “We are grateful that rehabilitative partners such as Fresno State University and Merced College are helping us provide transformative experiences for the population and those engaging with them.”

The prison’s 12-member debate team comprises incarcerated college students enrolled through Fresno State or Merced College. The 12 on-campus students traveled to the prison for the event.

Incarcerated debaters were selected to join the debate team based on their grades, attitudes, and disciplinary records. Forensic (speech and debate) and Communication professors from Fresno State University visit the prison every two weeks to teach participants the art of debate.

Why debate?
“Debate skills are an important part of any student’s college education, and it is important to include all of our students, regardless of where they are accessing this course,” said Dr. Douglas Fraleigh, Co-Director of Forensics and Professor of Communication at Fresno State University. “Providing students at VSP with the same debate training we provide students on campus is a quintessential example of the California Model and having all our students get together and debate provided a transformative experience for everyone.”

Each debate included a supporting and an opposing team. Teams were judged on the quality of evidence and arguments presented as well as their overall performance.

In the first round, VSP students debated the visiting students. For the following two rounds, VSP students and the visiting students integrated teams, collaborating on arguments.,

Higher educational offerings in CDCR
In addition to the Adult Basic Education, GED/High school and Career Technical Education opportunities offered through Valley State Adult School, the prison partners with Merced College for associate degree earning and CSU Fresno for bachelor’s degree earning pathways.

About 270 students are currently enrolled in Merced College classes and 26 in Fresno State University classes.

By Alia Cruz, Public Information Officer
Office of Public and Employee Communications

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