College OKs plans to teach at military prison

Coastline Community College will move forward with its plan to teach classes at a military prison in San Diego this fall.

The college's governing body, the Coast Community College District board of trustees, Wednesday approved an agreement to offer entrepreneurship and small-business management courses at the lockup.

Coastline faculty will teach seven courses over two eight-week sessions in the Navy brig at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, which is about 10 miles from downtown San Diego.

Trustee Jim Moreno called the agreement a "big deal."

"I think this is really getting the word out on what we're all about," he said.

Coastline has small campuses in Newport Beach, Garden Grove and Westminster, but also has a swath of less conventional class offerings.

Out of the college's 10,560-member student body in spring 2013, 1,125 were incarcerated, according to Jorge Sanchez, Coastline's director of research.

Coastline also offers five sessions per year specifically for members of the military.

An additional 3,000 students enrolled in each of those sessions in 2013, according to Sanchez's numbers.

The Navy brig program will be the first time Coastline combines those two categories of military members and prisoners as students, and it's starting at the Navy's request.

"We have a very close working relationship with the Navy," Coastline President Loretta Adrian said. "The regional education services officer in the San Diego area identified this as a critical need."

Coastline expects about 20 people to enroll in each of this fall's seven classes. They will cost prisoners $169 per unit but be paid out of prisoners' GI Bill benefits.

The brig holds about 400 inmates who have committed or are accused of anything from petty crimes to serious offenses, according to Coastline.

The Navy is interested in expanding on-site and online classes in the San Diego area in addition to this fall's brig program, Adrian said.

"I think we'll probably get people interested in signing up for classes once they go through this process," Moreno said. "We have a captive audience, as they say."

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