Rising Scholars

Rising Scholars

Solano College Phi Theta Kappa Inductees at CMF (2022)

The California Community Colleges are committed to serving students who have been impacted by the criminal justice system. Colleges supporting these students proudly form the Rising Scholars Network.

At Solano Community College, we proudly serve students at three correctional facilities in Solano County, as well as the County Jail. In the prisons, we offer Associate Degrees for Transfer in Business, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology.

Mission Statement

The mission of Solano College’s Rising Scholars Program is to offer a high-quality education leading to transferrable Associates Degree’s to a diverse population of incarcerated students at the correctional institutions served by the college. The SCC Rising Scholar Program is dedicated to enhancing personal development and rehabilitation through education for the students that we serve. It is our goal to help students attain their academic goals and increase their self-worth, confidence, and employment opportunities. Through education, our objective is to establish lifelong learning characteristics, develop critical thinking skills, improve the lives of our students, and help ensure successful and satisfying reentry into society post-incarceration.


The Solano Community College Rising Scholars Program serves justice-involved students at California Medical Facility (CMF), California State Prison – Solano (CSPS), and Solano County Jail.

The Rising Scholars team of professors is dedicated to improving the lives of incarcerated students by providing a high-quality education leading to Associates Degrees for transfer.

  • Associate in Science in Business Administration for Transfer
  • Associate in Arts in Political Science for Transfer
  • Associate in Arts in Psychology for Transfer
  • Associate in Arts in Sociology for Transfer

Social Benefits

“Providing effective education for incarcerated individuals has several interrelated social benefits. Most notably, educating prison inmates reduces crime. Correspondingly, as crime diminishes, there is less victimization. Furnishing incarcerated college students with an education steeped in 21st century competencies is a pathway for reducing recidivism, stigmas attached to incarceration, and the need for mass incarceration. Higher education is a proven rehabilitation model that helps make society, both inside and outside the prison walls, a safer and more humane environment” (Zitko, 2021, p. 167)


“This college stuff is really exciting to me. I should have been doing this years ago…Thanks for helping me to change my life” (RV, 2021).


“There are times that as inmates you don’t expect to be treated fairly, but you have taught me that the Education department [at Solano College] really cares about their students…and for that I will always be grateful” (JS, 2022).


“Because of my achievements in college, I basically served five years less than I was originally committed to. There are no mere ‘words’ that can express my sincere gratitude for the sacrifices that you made by simply just ‘showing up.’ The knowledge that you imparted upon me as one of your students will have ramifications far beyond what our limited years on this planet will see” (J.R., formerly incarcerated RS student).


“I want to say I extremely appreciate you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming to bat for me and taking your precious time out of your busy day to actually look into my file and write a letter regarding me to the California Department of Corrections. It was an absolute honor to have someone of your status show they really care for their college students, no matter incarcerated or not…You are Great!” (Letter from RS student to President/Superintendent Esposito-Noy, 2022).

Meet the Staff

Peter "Tony" Zitko
Dean of External Programs
Jessica Corbin
Administrative Assistant
Nicholas Turney
Rising Scholars Faculty Coordinator