A research experience equivalent to that of non-incarcerated students that meets the unique needs of incarcerated learners

JSTOR is a premier research database available in most colleges and universities in the United States, more than 3,000 secondary schools, and thousands of higher education institutions throughout the world.

Participation in the JSTOR Access in Prisons Initiative provides students at correctional facilities with the opportunity to conduct independent academic research commensurate with the learning opportunities offered on traditional campuses, while conforming to correctional security and media review policies. The initiative provides opportunities to develop research and information literacy skills while supporting higher education attainment in a non-traditional setting.

We have waived all fees for the program for facilities in the United States as part of our mission to expand access to knowledge for underserved learning communities.

What is included

The JSTOR Access in Prison collection contains the same respected corpus of secondary literature available to students on the outside. This ever-growing collection includes 2,600+ academic journals, 7,000+ scholarly ebooks, and 37,000+ open research reports. All content is scholarly and journals are peer-reviewed.

Research and digital skills are fundamental to a college education, and increasingly essential for success in a competitive future. As many incarcerated learners lack technological and research experience, student and teacher guides are included, along with materials to help students develop the necessary skills.

How it works

Before a student can access any individual document in the database, it must be reviewed and approved by an administrator, ensuring the content meets all applicable media review standards. The system features workflow tools to facilitate this media review efficiently.

Access options

We are currently piloting two access options, each designed to meet the security requirements of departments of corrections:

  • Direct Access: Students gain access via an internet connection to a version of JSTOR designed to meet the unique needs of incarcerated learners operating within the media review policy of a correctional facility. This version of JSTOR is a closed system that does not serve as a gateway to internet browsing. The facility will need to whitelist the JSTOR URL and provide computers, laptops, or devices with access to the approved website.
  • Offline Access: Students’ requests for materials are made through an offline version of JSTOR, delivered to the facility on a server or storage device. Requests are then fulfilled by the college or university library and delivered to the student. The facility will need to provide computers or laptops for student use. The system can be set up in an offline computer lab or housed on students’ computers.

Contact us to get started

This work is part of ITHAKA’s Improving Higher Education in Prisons initiative, a series of work to support justice-impacted individuals, empowering them to improve their lives by increasing access to high-quality higher education programs and library resources in prisons.