Graduates at the ECF Learning Celebration

Correctional Education

What is the BASICS program?

Building Academic Skills in Correctional Settings

Administration members applaud graduates at Learning CelebrationBarton Community College has been serving Ellsworth Correctional Facility (ECF) and Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility (LCMHF) for the past 21 years with educational programming. BASICS has transitioned into a one of the most successful correctional education programs in the nation. We are currently offering career technical certificates, traditional post-secondary coursework, adult basic education, and advisement services for over 200 students a year. 

Barton is doing our part to help the Kansas Department of Corrections create a safer Kansas! Read more about Barton's effort to break the cycle of recidivism.

Mission and Vision

The Vision - Break the cycle of incarceration through effective correctional education.

The Mission - Barton empowers offenders towards successful reintegration through education and career training.


Our Adult Basic Education program at ECF and LCMHF serves about 100 students a year, and during this same time, Barton provides career technical training to approximately 96 students every semester.

  • Barton student weldingWelding Technology – 16 credit hour certificate program

In addition to adult basic education and career technical training, Barton serves students at ECF and LCMHF with traditional academic coursework. We serve approximately 50-70 students in Associates in General Studies, Associates in Science, Business Management and Leadership and Business Management and Leadership Certificate.

Education has proven to be one of the best ways to reduce recidivism, save taxpayers money, and increase the safety and well-being of communities to which formerly incarcerated people return.

Celebrating Achievement

Barton is proud to offer our students the opportunity to celebrate their success, and take the time to reflect on their journey towards success. 

Every year Barton and staff from the Kansas Department of Corrections gather in celebration of our students for their individual success in our adult education, career technical or post-secondary programs. 


The programs below are available at Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility and Ellsworth Correctional Facility.

Adult Basic Education

Career Technical Programs

Academic Programs

  • Associates in General Studies
  • Associates in Science- Business Management and Leadership
  • Certificate in Business Management and Leadership

In addition to traditional academic advisement, the BASICS program offers career and transition advisement.

Career Advisement

The BASICS Career Advisor meets with students participating in the BASICS program to increase awareness of postsecondary opportunities at ECF (Central and East) and LCMHF (Central and South). During this meeting the Career Advisor uses the Offender Employment Retention Specialist (OERS) model utilizing motivational interviewing to develop an Education and Employment Plan for all students, and administers the O*NET Interest Profile to provide guidance through the selection of vocational programs and/or the Associate Degree coursework.

During the initial meeting with offenders interested in participating in the BASICS program, the Career Advisor identifies the offenders education level and interprets the results of the O*NET Interest Profile to identify vocational and educational opportunities fitting their individual interests and career goals. During this meeting, the offender works with the Career Advisor to identify barriers, e.g. FAFSA, loan default, and employment limitations based on conviction and state statutes, needing to be addressed before release. The Career Advisor then provides information to the offender on how to address these barriers, and makes proper referrals with the Employment Opportunity Center (EOC), and other community agencies. 

The goal of the Career Advisor is to empower our students with accurate and timely information, which enables them to develop an informed and realistic Education and Employment Plan fitting their personal needs and goals.


Foundation Scholarships

Many students or their families are unable to afford the cost of a college course, and depend on the generosity of the community and local organizations to help them further their education. The Barton Community College Foundation assists the BASICS program in raising funds to provide scholarships for students who are unable to afford college courses on their own. 

3rd Party and Self Pay

Students in the BASICS program are also able to fund their education on their own or our staff is able to work with families to set up payment of college courses. Many students who are working within Private Industry at our correctional facilities have committed to self-pay options due to the limited availability of scholarships and the high level of interest in education.

Contracts and Grants
Contracts and Grants

Promoting Reentry Success through Continuity of Educational Opportunities – PRSCEO

In 2013, Barton was one of three participants in the Department of Education’s PRSCEO project. The focus for this project was to invest in innovative programs preparing incarcerated individuals to successfully reenter society with the support of education and workforce training.

During this grant Barton refined our processes regarding correctional education and formalized many procedures for marketing, recruiting, and student selection. In addition to process enhancements, a partnership with the Kansas Department of Commerce was formalized, and we began offering career advisement to our students.

Kansas Department of Corrections

In 2014, Barton was awarded the education contracts for Ellsworth Correctional Facility (ECF) and Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility (LCMHF) by the Kansas Department of Corrections. Prior to this contract, Barton was continually seeking grant opportunities for funding our correctional education program. This contract created a sustainable program, and allows us to search for grant opportunities which enhance our program.

This contract supports our adult education and career technical programs at ECF and LCMHF.

Improving Reentry Education – IRE

In 2015, Barton was one of nine sites participating in the Department of Education’s IRE Project. The focus for this project is to demonstrate how the implementation high quality educational services in institutional or community settings are critical in support of educational attainment and successful reentry.

Barton has utilized this opportunity to expand the Accelerating Opportunity – Kansas model into correctional facilities. This has allowed us to modify and further develop a model which has proven successful in the traditional adult education setting.

With this grant project Barton has been increasing the impact technology has on correctional education. With the addition of an IT Assistant, we have enhanced our technology at ECF and LCMHF to allow the use of restricted web-based applications and testing. Increasing our technological footprint was identified as a necessity due to the dependence on the internet to institutions of higher education. Barton is currently utilizing tablets which allow our adult education students to have communication with instructors and access to educational resources outside of the classroom environment.

Other enhancements attributed to the IRE grant include additional advisement services, a renewed focus on professional development for staff, and the continued development of best practices and procedures for correctional education.

Second Chance Pell Grant

In 2020, Barton was one of the 7 colleges awarded Second Chance Pell Experiment.

The funding will enable approximately 700 incarcerated citizens to participate in credit-bearing Career Technical Education (CTE) programs in addition to associate and four-year degrees. This was the second round of awards through the U.S. Department of Education, with 67 colleges selected from 180 applicants. Kansas received the highest number of awards in the nation.