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First inmates graduate from Wesleyan program

CHESHIRE, Conn. (AP) Twenty-five Connecticut prison inmates have become the first to earn college degrees as part of a program offered in a partnership between Wesleyan University and Middlesex Community College.

Sixteen prisoners will receive their associate degrees in a ceremony Wednesday at the maximum-security Cheshire Correctional Institution, joining nine women who graduated last week at the York Correctional Institution.

The Wesleyan Center for Prison Education began offering college classes to inmates in 2009 but did not have a degree program before partnering with Middlesex Community College two years ago.

School officials say the classes are the same ones offered outside the prisons and the inmates often have a higher grade-point average than traditional college students.

They say the partnership also makes it easier for inmates to enroll in state bachelor's degree programs when they are released. 

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