English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

Criteria: Classification
The ESOL program assists non-native speakers of English as they practice basic language structures and conversational skills. Within this course students will develop their writing ability, reading fluency, vocabulary and much more. Assessments of students’ language capabilities are considered based on reading, writing, speaking and listening to best classify students for ultimate learning. Once placed, students may work in a small group setting, conventional classroom, or in one-on-one sessions.

Adult Secondary Education/HSE (High School Equivalency Test)

Criteria: Tests results from TABE
The Adult Secondary Education/High School Equivalency Program prepares students with, at minimum, an 8th grade reading level to earn their high school equivalency diploma or HiSET. Working together as a class and as individuals, students are prepared for the five (5) areas of the HiSET test: language arts reading, language arts writing, science, social sciences, and mathematics. This course is offered on an on-going basis with the HiSET test given multiple times a year at the House of Correction.  

Literacy 1

Criteria: TABE results below 4th grade reading level
This course is for beginner readers who read at or below the fourth (4th) grade level and is designed to successfully develop reading, spelling and writing strategies. Students who have experienced difficulty in the past learn skills such as decoding, phonics and fluency to bolster their academic abilities.

Literacy 2

Criteria: Test results between 4th and 8th grade
This course is for students who test at the 4
th-8th grade reading level. The teacher will work with students to strengthen their basic skills in reading and language arts and math. The majority of students in this class are preparing to go on to an ASE program. Literacy 2 is designed to refresh students’ minds about basic skills and help students develop better studying habits.

Criteria: Inmates housed in 1-5-1or 1-5-2
Literacy 2 classes are intended to improve reading skills for those who test between the 4th – 8th grades levels on the TABE.

Special Education in Institutional Settings (SEIS)

Varies by IEP

The Special Education Program helps inmates who are between the ages of eighteen (18) and twenty-one (21). One must also have a history, or make a request for Special Education and/or have a current and valid Special Education Plan from a public high school.

Freedom From Violence 

This program is an intensive course that focuses on individual efforts to acquire new, nonviolent styles of life. The FFV Program encourages its participants to recognize the benefits of creative work and to learn as well to appreciate the merits of peaceful domestic life. Rather than train or condition participants to accept culturally imposed stereotypes of behavior, the FFV leads them to discover for themselves that the ideal of personal freedom is based more on inner strength than on external control or domination through violence.

Educational and Career Counseling/Advising

Both individual and group counseling services are provided to advise students regarding educational issues such as course and program selection, school adjustment, study habits and career planning. Within the counseling and advising sessions individuals are encouraged to overcome personal, social or behavioral problems affecting their educational or vocational success and given the tools and strategies to do so.


The library is located on the first floor of Building 3 and is open to all male and female inmates in general population, recovery and worker units Monday through Friday during the scheduled times. Library schedules are posted in each unit and are available in the library. The library has more than 20,000 volumes of books for recreational reading; over 50 newspaper and magazine subscriptions; computers; multimedia collections; and a large legal collection of state and federal law. Up to three books at a time (one hardcover) may be checked out from the library, although law and other reference books may not leave the library. Special programs including film class, book club, poetry class/poetry slam, and education/career counseling are occasionally offered through the library. The library brings deliveries of books to units without access to Building 3, including Infirmary, CWP, and New Person. A satellite location with collection is housed in the Special Housing unit.

Tutoring (Boston College & Harvard)

Boston College PULSE and 4Boston students work with teachers in class and tutor students individually.  Presidential scholars work with teachers for 6 weeks May through June helping in classes and tutoring. The Phillips Brooks House volunteers work as individual tutors with students identified by teachers.  Specific individual needs are targeted.

Reading Coach

Criteria: Individual Referral 

The reading coach focuses on enhancing students’ ability to read efficiently. With a combination of individualized and classroom based support, students will be able to enhance their reading proficiency.