African American men incarcerated at the Washington State Reformatory at Monroe founded the Black Prisoners’ Caucus (BPC) in 1972. In 2012, BPC was established by men incarcerated at Clallam Bay, followed by Cedar Creek, Stafford Creek, and Shelton. Other chapters are in the process of formation. The BPC initiates educational opportunities, celebrates the legacy and culture of African people, and interfaces with other groups to support mutual learning, cooperation and appreciation of all cultures. The mission of BPC is to promote cultural growth and to provide incarcerated men the tools and platform to confront social issues that perpetuate oppression.
T.E.A.C.H. (Taking Education and Creating History) evolved from the legacy of education programs created by BPC, and was established at Clallam Bay Corrections Center in 2013 as a liberation education model that combines college credit courses, peer developed courses, workshops and seminars. TEACH courses are available to prisoners despite time structure, ethnic background or religious beliefs. Everyone interested in pursuing education is encouraged and supported on their journey, with an “each one teach one” philosophy that values every student and promotes cooperation. Thus far, the program has awarded 700 certificates of completion and over 400 college credits to participating students.